But back to the book...It was reviewed extensively and was praised very highly. It was on the NYT Best Seller List for many, many weeks. Here's an excerpt from the NYTimes book review:
A Suitcase Education
By BROOKE ALLEN
Published: September 16, 2001
BALZAC AND THE LITTLE CHINESE SEAMSTRESS
By Dai Sijie.
Translated by Ina Rilke.
197 pp. New York:
Alfred A. Knopf. $18.
...Perhaps the most Orwellian system of all -- more Orwellian than anything even Orwell could have imagined -- was Mao's Cultural Revolution, which began in 1966 and continued until the dictator's death a decade later. It was intended to stamp out the educated class and directed specifically against the ''Four Olds'': old ideas, old culture, old customs and old habits. The urban bourgeoisie were deemed enemies of the people, and so-called young intellectuals -- that is, youths who had attended secondary school -- were sent to the country to be ''re-educated'' by the supposedly virtuous peasantry. Between 1968 and 1975, some 12 million youths were thus ''rusticated.''
Dai Sijie, a Chinese author and filmmaker who has lived and worked in France since 1984, was one of these young men. He spent the years between 1971 and 1974 in the mountains of Sichuan Province, and has turned his experiences into a poetic and affecting, if rather slight, novel which was first published in France a year ago, to huge acclaim.
I promise I'll let you know how I liked it. Why don't you let me know if you liked it?