Monday, June 02, 2008

Lunchtime read: Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

There has been a fantastic series running on BBC 2, Wild China, about China’s landscape and wildlife. That seemed like a very thin excuse to pop to the library and pick up something with a Chinese flavour.

This book is clearly written by someone who spent many years in exile and is remembering his life as a student being transplanted from his home in the city to the countryside as part of Mao’s cultural revolution.

He is sent off with his best friend and together they discover a world of initial mistrust and backwardness with ancient beliefs mixing in with back breaking manual labour. The escape the two friends manage to find comes from their relationship with each other and their ability to act as cinema interpreters for the village.

Their travels take them into the orbit of another village and there they come across the tailors daughter. The little seamstress is charming and they are both slightly smitten by her but it is the friend Luo who seems to gain her attention. She certainly springs into life to nurse him when he falls ill with malaria.

More tomorrow…

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