Friday, January 1, 2010

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie *****

One form of writing magic transforms human pain and suffering into joy and beauty. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie is an excellent example of this transformation. Dai Sijie sets his novel during the Chinese cultural revolution.
The universities were closed and all the "young intellectuals," meaning boys and girls who had graduated from high school, were sent to the countryside to be "re-educated by the poor peasants."
The two young teenage boys in this story, pulled out of middle school, had little hope of returning home from the remote mountain village they were exiled to.
But for sons and daughters of families classed as enemies of the people, the chances of returning home were infinitesimal: three in a thousand.
This charming story combines a coming of age plot with the power of fiction to affect people's lives. Anyone who enjoys reading or has been in love will find this a enjoyable, though way too short, read.

No comments: