Publisher's Summary

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 the Phoenix mountains, they are made to cart buckets of excrement up and down the precipitous winding paths. Their meager distractions include a violin - and, 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.
©2001 Dai Sijie (P)2002 Random House Inc., Random House Audio, a Division of Random House Inc.
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Critic Reviews



Book Sense Book of the Year Award Finalist, Paperback, 2003
"An unexpected miracle - a delicate, and often hilarious, tale." (Los Angeles Times Book Review)
"A funny, touching, sly and altogether delightful novel...about the power of art to enlarge our imaginations." (Washington Post Book World)
"Poetic and affecting...riveting." (New York Times Book Review)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Kelli on 27-02-2003

Culture Shock

What a wonderfully enlightening (and slightly shocking) introduction to Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution in China during the 1970's. I had never studied nor read books about this historical period so this story turned out to be both entertaining and educational for me. The narrator was effective and the story flowed seamlessly to a somewhat quick conclusion. I listened to the book on a road trip and I was rather disappointed to see the book end when I still had many questions left unanswered. I recommend this story to the listener seeking cultural diversity and historical perspective.

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14 of 15 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Merav on 20-03-2003

Valued Treasure

Fine writing and a good authentic story.
I truly enjoyed this quality book and the excellent reading by the talented narrator. This audio book is a true treasure and is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

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8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Rowan on 19-11-2010

I adored this book

I adored this book from start to finish. I am holding off listening to it a second time for now but I know I won't wait for long. A truelly wonderful story of forbidden beauty.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By ms on 21-02-2017

lovely writing

Really enjoyed this book well worth buying I will be looking for similar authors. Good narrator. Beautiful descriptions in this writing..

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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