Thursday, August 06, 2009

Book Review: Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie

At first, I wasn't sure I would like this book because the description of setting and plot is so sparse, which is contrary to my usual taste. But I found that the more I thought about my experience reading the book, the more I realized how much I truly enjoyed it.

I think what made it so powerful was how well it encapsulated the experience of re-education in a communist world. It didn't necessarily seek to answer all sorts of historical question, but it did seek to give an accurate account. The characters are made very tangible in the context of this world, and that is refreshing. It's easy to slip yourself into their experience, and traverse their journey with them.

Further, I feel like the idea of reading literature for the sake of knowledge comes alive in the context of the story, and makes the book itself seem more alive. It's definitely easy to recommend this book to just about any sort of reader, because I believe the story at the core would appeal to anyone who is a lover of literature. And at only 192 sparse pages, its a quick little read, and thus well worth the effort.

This review was reposted and expanded from my review at Good Reads. Oh, you love reviewing books, too? Join! We can be friends!

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