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There are currently 36 reader reviews for Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
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this was a wonderful book that captured me with it's fairy tale plots and dimensional characters
I didn't really enjoy this book, it was confusing and hard to understand, but that is also coming from a 15 year old.
Series of scenes flow full of poetry, beauty and imagery lived by strong and attractive characters. They take you away in the far, far in the space, far east far away deep in the mountains, far in time, not so far, the seventies, but anyway a past time in which western litterature takes you in the last century. It seems to me an escapist story and this is one of the themes of the book: how culture and especially western litterature becomes a way of escaping the surrounding materialist and oppressed by the mao dictature daily life... magic escape and its consequences...a story that when begun cant be stopped
Dai Sijie's Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamtress, like so many novels written from abroad by Chinese authors, reflects an ambiguity towards Western culture. While the idealist praise of the narrator extolls -sometimes overly so- the power of literature to revolutionize the mind, Dai Sijie's fairytale narration and surprising ending seems to suggest that Western culture, too, has its pitfalls and should not be seen as the panacea to social problems. Thus, the reader must decide who is the reliable speaker: the zealous narrator, or the more subtly critical author.
Balzac is rich in imagery, and it might even be said that the narration is too explanatory, leaving too little room for the reader to extrapolate and, ironically, use his imagination. Overall, however, the book is a worthwhile read, especially if one is interested in seeing Chinese cultural history evaluated retrospectively, through the eyes of an author who has lived on both sides of the fence.