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Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

Lu par : B.D. Wong
Durée : 4 h et 24 min
5,0 out of 5 stars (1 notation)

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Description

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.

Commentaires

  • 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)

Ce que les auditeurs disent de Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

Notations
Global
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Interprétation
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Histoire
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  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
Image de profile pour Kelli
  • Kelli
  • 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.

15 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
Image de profile pour Merav
  • Merav
  • 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!

9 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    3 out of 5 stars
Image de profile pour T. Prizer
  • T. Prizer
  • 09/05/2018

BD Wong is awful

A perfectly fine story absolutely ruined by terrible, overly dramatic, aspirated narration from BD Wong. Wong reads every sentence as if it is THE most important sentence in the entire book, as if it is dripping with meaning and insight, when most of the sentences in this book are actually very simple, even-childlike. Not an enjoyable read by any stretch of the imagination.

2 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
Image de profile pour Cid
  • Cid
  • 07/04/2005

Wonderful!

This is a lovely story, with fantastic narration by B.D. Wong. I've listened to it several time, and enjoyed it again and again.

5 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
Image de profile pour Dr.
  • Dr.
  • 01/06/2009

Sweet Little Book

A short story about two adolescent boys sent to the hinter lands for "reeducation" during China's cultural revolution. The story is interesting in terms of the insights it gives about China during this time and the impact reeducation had for these young boys when sent away from their families. You learn, for example, that boys are boys anywhere on earth (ditto for small town people). The story is very easy to listen to and well written. Ultimately, I compared it to cotton candy - sweet and fun, but leaving you hungry with not a lot of substance.

4 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Gillian
  • 21/04/2018

Lovely But Reads More As YA

While Balzac and the Little Seamstress has hard-hitting themes and truly poetical language, it comes off more as for Young Adults than anything else. Maybe it's BD Wong's narration--even though the boys grow into young men during the course of the story, his tones are those of an overgrown boy--which, judging from their actions, they most certainly are.
They can be harsh and judgmental of those around them; they could perform acts of rebellious cruelty; they can look down upon the little seamstress as though they're gods from on high.
Don't get me wrong: it's not a bad book, it's just that the boys, sent to be re-educated can come off as lacking in empathy. What they do, whom they trick and torment to get the stash of classic books, bears this out.
One thing--their intelligence and sense of lyricism can make them spot the beauty in their environment and makes the prose sometimes lovely, sometimes harsh. Really well-written.
Still, at just over 4-hours, it's not a hard listen, and it can add to awareness of Chinese history, of Mao's conduct within the country.
A decent way to spend a few hours, but unless you're into a sense of fables for young adults, I'd wait for a Credit-Bundle or Daily Deal.

5 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Carin
  • 17/11/2011

I finally understand The Cultural Revolution.

I have long heard good things about Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie, and I really liked it.

I thought the choice of B. D. Wong as narrator was interesting as he's Chinese-American, but of course on an audiobook, you don't see the narrator so there's no reason to have found someone of the appropriate ethnicity (particularly as he doesn't have an accent, and presumably - although I haven't researched - English is his first language.) But I liked that detail as I did picture him as the main character.

Our hero and his friend Luo have been sent out to a rural village during the Chinese Cultural Revolution to learn how to appreciate the proletariat. They are subjected to demeaning, backbreaking work, but all the boredom and stress melts away when they discover the beautiful daughter of the region's tailor, and a stash of translated Western novels.

The novel was very evocative. I found myself physically recoiling at some very accurate imagery more than once, as I was out walking. I would make faces, clench up, and sometimes even try to move out of the way, as the descriptions were so visceral that they seemed real. B. D. Wong was good at giving the different characters different voices, and I never was confused about who was speaking. With the Chinese names, I was a little glad to have someone else pronouncing them instead of me guessing, although many of the characters didn't even have names, but nicknames, like "Four Eyes," the owner of the illegal novels.

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress was a romantic, delicate story that opened my eyes to the Cultural Revolution (I had heard it referenced before but never understood what it was.) A fine gem, the book has moments of humor, fancy, danger, and passion.

3 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Geraldine
  • 16/12/2003

Balzac and the Little Chinese Mistress

This is perfect book. The story is fascinating, the characters approachable, and the text is well crafted. Most of all it is a colorful, enchanting picture of life in China during the Cultural Revolution, an event that I knew formerly only through the dry faacts of history.

3 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    3 out of 5 stars
Image de profile pour Kaui
  • Kaui
  • 28/06/2016

A Chinese version of Ex Machina

Any additional comments?

This little book is a gem. The language is tight, well crafted. The storyline is a bit slow to start, gathers steam in the middle, and has a surprising (sad) twist at the end. Many who have reviewed this book disparaged the ending. I do not find it as disappointing or disjointed as others. My view of Chinese stories is that they are always laced with tragedy, but from the tragic ashes rise hope, understanding and enlightenment. I feel that this book does not disappoint.

2 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sharron
  • 18/06/2013

Great little read

Two city boys are sent into the country for re-education. Set in China in 1970's when Mao was the ruler. I really enjoyed the narration.

2 personnes ont trouvé cela utile