Monday, April 6, 2009
Perfect Book for a Long Flight
Title: Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
By: Dai Sijie
This is a lovely funny book which can easily transport you from a cramped seat in economy to an elegantly constructed world in China. Set in the Chinese countryside during the Cultural Revolution, Sijie tells us the story of two city boys sent to be re-educated by poor peasants in the mountains of rural China. Their city perspective meets the rural view of the village headman, the local tailor, and the tailor's daughter.
Along the way we have the opportunity to contemplate the intellectual life vs. the laborer's life, outsider vs. insider, and even the influence of Western thought on Chinese values. The story is at the same time moving and funny, gently told by a man who, himself, was re-educated in the seventies according to Mao's edict.
The last sweet turn of events will leave you smiling as you close the cover on this wise little tale and prepare for landing.
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