Welcome to the World of Balzac

Have you ever fantasized about how a book can truly change your life? For this question, you might be able to find an answer in Dai Sijie’s debut semi-biography Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress ---a story about literature, love, passion, and cultural revolution.

Set in the early 1970s when China’s Cultural Revolution reaches its peak, all books are forbidden except certain textbooks and Chairman Mao Zedong’s ‘Little Red Book’. Also, thousands of young intellectuals are sent to remote areas for re-education, an ideological policy which forces the city youth to reject western influence. Two boys, the sons of doctors who are labeled ‘enemies of the people’, are unconditionally banished to a village mountain locally known as ‘Phoenix in the Sky’ where they come across and are attracted to the daughter of a local seamstress.

Without hope for returning to their families and the place where they belong, the boys can only live through difficult times and unfortunate misery by escaping to the world of imagination. Unexpectedly, after the discovery of a suitcase packed with literature from the 19th century Western canon, they begin seeing the world with new eyes and even the little seamstress is changed. What happens to the three characters whose fates are considerably intertwined is proof of how literature can transform and impact on their lives.

Undoubtedly, Dai Sijie is a promising storyteller. His elaborate prose is extraordinarily vivid and full of humour, but, still, the story is so touching, and it profoundly breaks our hearts.


  1. Ana said...
    I will surely read it when I get my hands on it.
    teresa said...
    The title itself is so inviting...
    Wellcome to Bloomland, Oui!
    Bloom * Creative Network said...
    We had this title when we opened Bloom back in February. In the meantime was sold out. It will be re-available very soon.
    oui said...
    Thanks Terasa for a warm welcome. Hope we will meet each other someday.

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