Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie is the story of two young men who are sent to the countryside to be “re-educated” during China’s Cultural Revolution. There, they discover Chinese translations of forbidden Western books. The book’s description of the re-education of the two men is interesting, and the wonder that they feel upon reading these forbidden books is familiar to anyone with a love of reading. However, the last third of the book really falls off in quality, with a strange narrative change. I found the end to be confusing. The end of the book seems to have a deep meaning, but I could not figure out what it was.
Availability: SMCM Library
Review Submitted by: Rebecca Thayer
Rating: Recommended with Reservations.