Saturday, May 18, 2013

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, by Dai Sijie, had been on my list of "need to read" books for  too long.   I finally purchased the book last week and read it in 3 days.  I have read many books  about the "Re-education" of the educated middle class in China, all of which brought me the kind of horror you feel in your heart and stomach....that sinking feeling you get when you realize that horrible things can happen in any society, at any time, with just a slight tilt of the universe.  Dai Sijie's story, set in 1971 China, tells about the re-education of two friends in their late teens, sons of medical professionals.  Western books are banned and craved by the narrator and his friend, Luo.  Also greatly admired is the lovely seamstress, the object of their dreams and obsessions.

Without giving away too much of the plot, I will tell you that events conspire to forever entwine and separate the three young people, pulling you into their sad yet hopeful world.  I loved this story and have heard that a movie based on the book is being made....hope it is true to this gem of a book.

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