enchanting literary debutalready an international
At the height of Maos 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 Phoenix mountain, they
are made to cart buckets of excrement up and down precipitous
winding paths. Their meager distractions include a violinas
well as, before long, the beautiful daughter of the
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
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.