Friday, April 13, 2012

Novel: Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie

It has been quite some time since I last read a novel. I chose this novel out of a number of English novels around. Why? I didn't even know who Balzac was but it reminded me of the name Bergerac of Cyrano de Bergerac.
It was an easy afternoon read. Luo, his friend, the little seamstress, the old miller, the village headman........there weren't a lot of characters. Phoenix mountain was one of the settings.....what a magical name! The book is mainly a first person narrative, up until almost the end.
I had to reread phrases or sentences because I thought they were wonderfully written. Yup, it is one of those books you don't want to put down. I was intrigued to find out if Luo and the little Seamstress ended up together, were Luo and his friend had the chance to get back to their former city lives. Thinking apart from the characters in the book, I wondered about the real city young adults who were sent to villages for their re-education during the Cultural Revolution. Whatever happened to them.
If you like this novel, you may want to watch the film. I hadn't seen the film. I saw a film with the cultural revolution as the backdrop entitled To Live. It is directed by Zhang Yimou. I highly recommend it if you want to clean your eyes with your own tears. It was pretty much bad luck one after the other for this family. Sigh......

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