Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie is a novella that describes life as it was during the cultural revolution in China (1971). The translated work tells the tale of two teenage boys who are sent to the countryside to be “re-educated.” During their time working in the fields, they manage to meet a country seamstress and steal a suitcase of banned Western books. At it’s heart, the book is a love story: the question is whether they love prose or the girl more. The novella, while simply written, shows the impact of words and literature on people. The words transform the characters completely. This book is for those who want a tiny look into the life during the cultural revolution or anyone who likes a mild Chinese love story. Probably better in Chinese.