Thursday, January 22, 2015

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress - Dai Sijie

I discovered this book when I was looking through all the banned books materials at the American Library Association's website and decided to randomly choose it as a book to meet this challenge. I'm really glad I did, as I discovered that this book was originally written in French (the author is from China originally, but now lives in France and writes in French) and it was made into a movie (which I will have to make a point of seeing), making it eligible for the French Bingo Challenge and the Diversity on the Shelf Challenges too.

As I've said before, one reason I like joining reading challenges is because I so often find cool books that I would otherwise not have heard of, like this book. It's a short book and it was a deceptively fast read, but the themes of censorship (yes, it's kind of ironic that a book with that as one of its themes is itself a victim of censorship), and the transformative power of good literature, are deep and well done. I know that I will be thinking about this book for a long time, asking myself exactly what the relationship between Balzac and the titular seamstress is - anything more I say will venture into potential spoiler territory. Sufficient to say this book is highly recommended and I would love to discuss it with anyone else who has read it!

If you're curious, the ALA banned/challenged books report for 2004 - 2005 has more info about the banning of this book.


  1. I loved this book a lot too. the movie version is good too by the way. don't forget to post the link to your review in the comment section of the French Bingo page, and the possible squares it could go with

  2. Merci Emma! I will definitely have to see the movie now. I will post my links at the end of the month so I will remember to do them this time :)