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Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

Dai Sijie

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Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

By: Dai Sijie

Narrarated by: B.D. Wong

An enchanting literary debut—already an international best-seller.

At the height of Mao’s infamous Cultural Revolution, two boys are among hundreds of thousands exiled to the countryside for “re-education.” The narrator and his best friend, Luo, guilty of being the sons of doctors, find themselves in a remote village where, among the peasants of Phoenix mountain, they are made to cart buckets of excrement up and down precipitous winding paths. Their meager distractions include a violin—as well as, before long, the beautiful daughter of the local tailor.

But it is when the two discover a hidden stash of Western classics in Chinese translation that their re-education takes its most surprising turn. While ingeniously concealing their forbidden treasure, the boys find transit to worlds they had thought lost forever. And after listening to their dangerously seductive retellings of Balzac, even the Little Seamstress will be forever transformed.

From within the hopelessness and terror of one of the darkest passages in human history, Dai Sijie has fashioned a beguiling and unexpected story about the resilience of the human spirit, the wonder of romantic awakening and the magical power of storytelling.

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New York Times Best Seller

Total File Size: 121 MB (4 files) Total Length: 4 Hours, 24 Minutes

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By Jess Sauer, Contributor

The idea that diverse languages are a form of divine punishment, serving only to separate us, is a popular one in numerous mythologies and religious traditions. In Genesis, humanity is unified by a common tongue until God, concerned that the people are becoming too powerful and proud, scatters them and creates different languages. Invented systems such as Esperanto have sought to remove this curse through the reinstatement of a common tongue. In an era when… more »