Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress is an enchanting tale that captures the magic of reading and the wonder of romantic awakening. An immediate international bestseller, it tells the story of two hapless city boys exiled to a remote mountain village for re-education during China's infamous Cultural Revolution. There the two friends meet the daughter of the local tailor and discover a hidden stash of Western classics in Chinese translation. As they flirt with the seamstress and secretly devour these banned works, the two friends find transit from their grim surroundings to worlds they never imagined.
About the Author
Dai was born in China. He is also a filmmaker and lives in Paris, France.
Ina Rilke was awarded the Vondel Translation Prize in 1999. In 2008, her translation of W. F. Herman's "The Darkroom of Damocles" made the shortlist for the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize, and her translation of Erwin Mortier's "Shutterspeeld" made the longlist of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. Also in 2008, she won a Flemish Community Prize for Culture for her work.
“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.” —The Washington Post Book World
“Poetic and affecting. . . . The descriptions of life in this strangest of times and places are so riveting that the reader longs for more.” —The New York Times Book Review
“[A] thrilling and . . . truly great work. . . . [A] richly complex fable.” —San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
“Gives the rest of the world a glimpse into that dark place where the human spirit continues, against all odds, to shine its light.” —The Boston Globe
“A wonderful novel . . . formed by detailed layering and exquisite craftsmanship, like a beautifully tailored garment.” —The Chicago Tribune
“Poignant, humorous, and romantic.” —The New York Times
“Seduces readers into its world. . . . [A] very wise little story of love and illusion.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer