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Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress Audiobook

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

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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.

What the Critics Say

  • 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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (380 )
5 star
 (109)
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3 star
 (86)
2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.9 (129 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.1 (124 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    maida smith Sandy Ut 02-05-13
    maida smith Sandy Ut 02-05-13 Member Since 2015

    Maida

    HELPFUL VOTES
    33
    ratings
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    91
    34
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    5
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    "This was too depressing for me"
    What disappointed you about Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress?

    It seemed everyone worked and finally it was all for naught.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Dai Sijie again?

    yes if it seemed to interest me. This was one of my first purchases and I did not review it very well.


    Any additional comments?

    Sorry it was just not my kind of book but was well done for what it was.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judy Pereira 03-05-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
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    42
    9
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    Story
    "Chinese Seamstress"

    A lovely short story that gives a great insight into the impact of the cultural revolution on real people.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erin Richmond VICAustralia 08-19-07
    Erin Richmond VICAustralia 08-19-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    4
    2
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    0
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    Overall
    "A lovely tale"

    I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the narrator was none other than one of my favourite characters from 'Law and Order - SVU'; Dr Wong. The narration of this story was clear, impelling and full of energy as BD Wong gave life to each of the characters in this story. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress is a lovely tale, despite being set in the harsh world of the Chinese revolution and re-education of the bourgoise. The characters are witty and endearing and have inspired me to read a number of other classic tales (including the Count of Monte Cristo!). Whilst I wish I could have learnt more about the characters at the story's end, I was not disappointed and enjoyed every minute of this audiobook.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lanakila Holly Springs, NC, USA 06-26-07
    Lanakila Holly Springs, NC, USA 06-26-07 Member Since 2009

    I am a voracious reader and long-time Audible member (2006). My favorite narrators are Simon Vance and Davina Porter.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
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    "Delightfully Funny"

    The characters in this story were excellent and the word-painting of the author did a great job bringing images to my mind.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Alexandria, VA, USA 09-24-05
    Jennifer Alexandria, VA, USA 09-24-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
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    5
    5
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    "lovely listen"

    This book made a perfect audiobook. We listened to it while painting one weekend. Colorful story and great narration. It's not going to end up as required college reading, but nevertheless opens people up to a world about which most of us are completely clueless.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. MacLeod 07-03-03
    D. MacLeod 07-03-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    36
    ratings
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    26
    7
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    0
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    "Love of Books"

    I would think that teenagers could relate to this book -- and get a feel for what it would be like if all books were banned. Maybe it could help light the lamp of learning.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sebnem F. Ucer W-S, NC 05-04-16
    Sebnem F. Ucer W-S, NC 05-04-16 Member Since 2015

    Sebnem

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Bad...Bad...Bad recording"

    I had to quit listening to the book due to VERY bad recording and spend money to buy the e-book. Terrible recording, totally waste of money!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Oscar 03-06-16
    Oscar 03-06-16
    ratings
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    1
    1
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    Story
    "For those college students looking for quick answe"

    SPOILER ALERT





    the whole story is about two city teens send for rededication onto a mountain. they live in a small village for some time, a love triangle happens when they run into the little seamstress. they steal four-eyes(comedic relief) suit case which contains Western books. Balzac the author of one of the books. they teach it to the seamstress and in the end she leaves them for the city because she finds the value of her beauty. "Bro's before hoes"

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    NicoleMarieYogini 08-01-13 Member Since 2012

    ...

    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
    ratings
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    21
    20
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting, Not Amazing"

    It was an interesting story in that it takes place during the Cultural Revolution and I’ve not read a lot of fiction set during that harrowing time. I also appreciated the main characters’ love of words and literature and found this theme enchanting. I liked how it showcased the power of books to heal and change people for the better. That said, although the book kept my attention, I’m pretty lukewarm on it overall mostly because I felt there was little closure to running themes and the ending was uneventful and sudden.

    The narration was quicker than other audiobooks I've listened to, which I really appreciated. But I felt like some sentences were spoken unclearly and had to rewind multiple times to hear what was said.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Hurleyville, NY, United States 02-24-13
    Amazon Customer Hurleyville, NY, United States 02-24-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    1
    Overall
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    Story
    "amazing novel, you don't want to finish it"
    If you could sum up Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress in three words, what would they be?

    some words weren't clear for me


    What did you like best about this story?

    it seems to be a simple story but the way the author describes the emotions and the background circunstancies are very rich.


    If you could take any character from Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    the seamstress


    Any additional comments?

    no

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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