Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

by DAI SIJIE | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0099286432 Global Overview for this book
Registered by aleonblue of Brisbane, Queensland Australia on 12/12/2005
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15 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by aleonblue from Brisbane, Queensland Australia on Monday, December 12, 2005
Have been keen to read this book after seeing the film version a few years ago.

Blurb from the back of the book:

"1971: Mao's Cultural Revolution is at its peak. Two sons of doctors, sent to 're-education ' camps, forced to carry buckets of excrement up and down mountain paths, have only their sense of humour to keep them going. Although the attractive daughter of the local tailor helps to distract them from the task at hand.

The boys' true re-education starts, however, when they discover a hidden suitcase packed with the great Western novels of the nineteenth century. Their lives are transformed. And not only their lives: after listening to the stories of Balzac, the little seamstress will never be the same again."

For once I found that the movie version offered a lot more that the book. Although I enjoyed the book, the movie seemed to offer more in relation to the love story between the boys and the seamstress and their love of books. In typical Chinese cinematic style, it also showed the beauty of the Chinese countryside.

Still worth the read.

I'm offering this book up for a small Australian booking - now finished. The book's now heading off on a little overseas jaunt.

What should I do when I receive the book?
1. Log on to Bookcrossing and write a journal entry so I know it reached you safely.
2. PM the next BC member on the list for their address.
2. Try and read the book within 30 days and then add another journal entry with your thoughts about the book. Tell the truth! Was it the best thing you ever read or a complete and utter waste of time? - you can write one sentence or a hundred.
3. Send the book onto the next reader.

The order of reading is:

AUSTRALIAN BOOKRING:
* Scoopy-doo (Brisbane, Qld)
* Crystaljade (Hervey Bay, Qld)
* kalasue (Perth, WA)
* Melanie2474 (Narrabundah, ACT)
* bookfairy65 (Yass, NSW) (from wishlist)- towards end
* xoddam (Sydney, NSW)- toward end
* back to me

INTERNATIONAL BOOKRING:
* AceofHearts (Ontario, Canada)(from wishlist) - post anywhere
* juicy-comrade (British Columbia, Canada) - post internationally
* duza-kaluza (Santiago, Chile)- post internationally
* LeishaCamden (Oslo, Norway) - post anywhere
* mafaldaQ (Thessaloniki, Greece)- post internationally
* frangipani08 (Brisbane, Qld)
* back home to me

Journal Entry 2 by aleonblue at Mary Ryan's Paddington in Brisbane, Queensland Australia on Friday, December 16, 2005

Released 13 yrs ago (12/17/2005 UTC) at Mary Ryan's Paddington in Brisbane, Queensland Australia

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Passing this book onto Scoopy-Doo at the Brisbane BookCrossing Xmas meet-up to start the bookring.

Hope you enjoy the book!

Journal Entry 3 by Scoopy-doo from Brisbane, Queensland Australia on Sunday, January 08, 2006
Fantastic book, a bit different from the movie but I liked both for different reasons. The movie toned down the sexual side of the story and focussed on the political history of the time.


Journal Entry 4 by Crystaljade from Hervey Bay, Queensland Australia on Saturday, March 04, 2006
The book arrived last week, while I was busy with life, so I appologise for the delay in journaling. I will get it read asap. But since uni starts again in two days, I may be a bit slower than usual.

Journal Entry 5 by Crystaljade from Hervey Bay, Queensland Australia on Wednesday, March 22, 2006
I enjoyed the book, now I'll have to see the movie! I'll get this posted to kalasue next week.

Journal Entry 6 by kalasue from Kalamunda, Western Australia Australia on Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Received today...

Journal Entry 7 by kalasue from Kalamunda, Western Australia Australia on Sunday, April 16, 2006
Adored this book - read in a few hours. I can definitely visualise it as a movie but am glad I read the book first. I loved that the prose is so spare and yet so evocative. Will look out for the dvd now...

Journal Entry 8 by kalasue from Kalamunda, Western Australia Australia on Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Posted to melanie2474 today...

Journal Entry 9 by Melanie2474 from Narrabundah, Australian Capital Territory Australia on Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Another one for the bookring pile - I will do my best to get to this soon but I do have a bit of a backlog (why do they all turn up at the same time?).

Journal Entry 10 by Melanie2474 from Narrabundah, Australian Capital Territory Australia on Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Starting this today while I'm home in bed feeling not very well :( Oh well, any opportunity to read! Sorry it's taken a while - I seem to be on every Bookring in the country at the moment :)

Journal Entry 11 by Melanie2474 from Narrabundah, Australian Capital Territory Australia on Thursday, May 25, 2006
A lovely and not too long read - nice to read about those who enjoy books as much as I do :)

Have sent 2 PMs to bookfairy65 requesting an address so will mail this on as soon as details are received.

Released 12 yrs ago (5/29/2006 UTC) at book ring in Mailed to fellow bookcrosser, Postal Release -- Controlled Releases

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Continuing its journey :)

Journal Entry 13 by bookfairy65 from Yass, New South Wales Australia on Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Received this in the post today. Thanks to all who have held this book before me for passing it on, I'm looking forward to reading it.

Journal Entry 14 by bookfairy65 from Yass, New South Wales Australia on Saturday, June 03, 2006
I really enjoyed this book - will have to keep my eye out for the movie now! It's hard to imagine being denied the simple pleasure of owning and reading books, I'm pretty sure I'd have to risk having a suit-case full stashed away somewhere too!

I will PM xoddam and get this book moving again ASAP.

Journal Entry 15 by xoddam from Springwood, New South Wales Australia on Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Arrived in the post at work today. I'm sorry to say it will probably be a while before I read it, as the rings keep piling up, but now that I have managed to ramp up to finishing nine books in May, I might just make it through all the bookrings I have *now* by the end of July ... fingers crossed :-) I basically stopped joining rings in January, so there should be very few more arriving now.

I have seen the film (at the cinema in Glasgow three or four years ago), and I loved it; especially the scenery of the Three Gorges area (which apparently will not be dammed after all, hooray!). I do look forward to the book.

Many thanks aleonblue, bookfairy65 et al.

Journal Entry 16 by wingAnonymousFinderwing on Monday, November 27, 2006
I got the book from Xoddam, and unfortunately has taken me ages to return. I promise it's on its way back ! I thought it was a wonderful book, with intricate detail on the characters surroundings. Emotions of the characters were also felt on their journey.
Snoopy165 :0)

CAUGHT IN SYDNEY NSW AUSTRALIA

Journal Entry 17 by xoddam from Springwood, New South Wales Australia on Monday, December 11, 2006
Received back from my (now ex-) workmate in the mail today. She did sign up as BookCrosser Snoopy165 but all her journal entries were made without logging in, so her bookshelf is still empty. I now have the "whole set" of aleonblue's bookrings that I need to send back, so I'm putting this at the very top of Mt. TBR and I will post the lot together as soon as I'm done.

Apparently I first received this in July. How time flies. Thanks for your indulgence!

Journal Entry 18 by xoddam from Springwood, New South Wales Australia on Monday, December 18, 2006
I loved this, though I wasn't *quite* as moved or impressed as I expected to be. The ending, surprising as it was, seemed just a little bit too twee. But never mind, it's a fine book and narrates a few things which it would be wise not to forget.

Many many many many.... thanks to aleonblue for your patience and indulgence. I now have about five books I need to send you!

Journal Entry 19 by aleonblue from Brisbane, Queensland Australia on Tuesday, January 02, 2007
The book has made its way home - thanks to Xoddam - and thank to all who participated in the bookring.

It will be travelling again soon on an international bookring! Travel well little book...

Released 12 yrs ago (1/2/2007 UTC) at to the next participant in sent by post, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases

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Posting this book off today to Canda to continue to bookring - hope you enjoy the book!

Journal Entry 21 by wingAceofHeartswing from Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Thursday, January 18, 2007
received in the mail today. Thanks for sharing :)

Journal Entry 22 by wingAceofHeartswing from Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Wednesday, January 24, 2007
A book that is sparse on details but very rich in imaginative prose. I found myself thinking about a life with no books in it. How depressing!! I like to read Asian literature and find it different from our western literature. It is simple but when you think about it; it seems so complex

Journal Entry 23 by wingAceofHeartswing from Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Sunday, February 04, 2007
mailed today from Buffalo to Juicy-Comrade

Journal Entry 24 by juicy-comrade from Victoria, British Columbia Canada on Thursday, February 15, 2007
It arrived today. :)

Journal Entry 25 by juicy-comrade from Victoria, British Columbia Canada on Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Good story. I found myself giggling as I was reading a translation of a book that talks about different translations of other books. And I loved the ending of the story. The more I thought about it, the more perfect it was.

Sorry I hung onto the book for so long. I put it in the mail earlier this week.

Journal Entry 26 by aleonblue from Brisbane, Queensland Australia on Thursday, April 12, 2007
Had to make a quick note that I watched a DVD of the movie adaptation of this book again recently & really enjoyed it the 2nd time around - the photography was wonderful and it was a good adaptation (better than a lot that I've seem). I didn't remember the ending, so am keen to reread the book when it returns home to see if that was an addition that they made for the movie, or true to the book.

I'd certainly recommend the movie to anyone whoe has read this bookring, and not seen the movie yet.

cheers
Noela from Australia
aleonblue

Journal Entry 27 by duza-kaluza from Santiago, Región Metropolitana Chile on Wednesday, May 09, 2007
I returned from a trip to Brazil last week to find this in my mail box. How exciting! I haven't done a bookring for a while. It's good to get back to bookcrossing!

Journal Entry 28 by duza-kaluza from Santiago, Región Metropolitana Chile on Monday, June 18, 2007
I finally got this off to LeishaCamden. It took me awhile to get to the post.
I flew through the book. It was a nice story but it didn't really get me.

Journal Entry 29 by LeishaCamden from Alna bydel, Oslo fylke Norway on Monday, June 25, 2007
This arrived in the mail from Chile on Friday, June 22nd. This was the first bookring I ever signed up for, so I'm really excited that it's made its way to me at last. :-) Unlike many earlier participants in the ring, I haven't seen the movie version of the book, so I don't have any real idea of what to expect. But I enjoy reading Asian literature so I'm sure this will be an experience. :-)

Thank you, everyone! I'll journal again when I've read the book.

Journal Entry 30 by LeishaCamden from Alna bydel, Oslo fylke Norway on Thursday, June 28, 2007
I started reading this book yesterday. I'm about 50 pages in and I'm loving it ... :-) ... it's such a lovely book, a sad story so far but beautifully written. I travelled in China a few years back (not for long, only three weeks) and among other places, we visited a somewhat remote rural village a few hours outside of Guilin, in the south of the country. The scenery there was so beautiful, with the rice paddies covering the steep hillsides and the hills stretching away into the distance. The book is really making me picture that place again now, in my mind's eye. A lovely read so far. :-)

Journal Entry 31 by LeishaCamden from Alna bydel, Oslo fylke Norway on Wednesday, July 04, 2007
I finished this book on Saturday, June 30th. It was a very quick and easy read. A charming book!

I really loved the story, and not least the narrator's 'voice'. It was fascinating to get a glimpse into such a different place and time from the one I'm living in; I felt I really learned something about Chinese culture and Chinese people from reading it. I was very pleasantly surprised that the novel was as funny as it was. It's very charmingly told and very well written (and also very well translated). It has a kind of warm, friendly humor that I enjoyed very much. The ending was sad, in a way, but I don't really see how it could have ended differently. The two boys learned a life lesson from it. This story really showed how ... if I may be forgiven for using an old cliche ... if life gives you lemons, you just have to make lemonade. You have to make the best of it ... play the hand you're dealt, so to speak. And you can end up having adventures in the most unexpected places. :-)

I've gotten mafaldaQ's address from her so the book should be off to Greece before too long. :-) Thanks everyone for sharing, and for keeping the ring going for so long!! :-)

I wish you all a wonderful summer ... !! :-)

Released 11 yrs ago (7/6/2007 UTC) at Sent surface mail to the next on the list in By mail, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases

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This book will be off to Greece in half an hour or so. I'm sorry to say that it's gotten a little bit damaged since last time I wrote ... :-( I brought it with me to work yesterday to mail it then, but as I forgot the little bag of stamps at home I couldn't send it. Then on my way home I got caught in the rain, the most unbelievable downpour ... a veritable flood ... and somehow the book got a little wet. It was very strange as there didn't seem to be anything else in the bag that got wet at all. Hopefully no great lasting damage will have been done ... some of the pages will be a little buckled along the front edge, but I hope I will be forgiven for that ... I hope it can be considered as evidence of the book's travels. :-)

Thank you again everyone for sharing. aleonblue, I put a Norwegian and a Swedish stamp in the bag for your friend's daughter. :-) MafaldaQ - happy reading!

Journal Entry 33 by mafaldaQ from Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki Greece on Sunday, July 15, 2007
I have it since Friday but I was away from computer thus I couldn't make a journal entry! I will try to read it asap!

Journal Entry 34 by mafaldaQ from Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki Greece on Saturday, July 28, 2007
I had to read it really quickly in order to post it to frangipani08 before leaving for my summer vacation. I find it rather interesting but I realized that my English need more practise! Tomorrow morning I will mail it to frangipani08!

Thank you LeishaCamden for sending the book and aleonblue for sharing the book!

Journal Entry 35 by frangipani08 from Brisbane, Queensland Australia on Thursday, August 09, 2007
What a fantastic surprise at the end of a hard day! What a lovely little parcel! I felt very special receiving such a beautifully wrapped parcel! Thanks a lot, MafaldaQ!

Journal Entry 36 by frangipani08 from Brisbane, Queensland Australia on Tuesday, August 14, 2007
A lovely little read. It''s hard to imagine a life without books - it would indeed be a barren life. I wish the story could have had a happier ending but it does demonstrate the power a book can have on someone''s life. Have put the Greek stamps from MafaldaQ''s parcel in the bag with the book.

Journal Entry 37 by erinoc from Brisbane, Queensland Australia on Sunday, November 04, 2007
Picked up at the Brissy meet up

I'm a complete freeloader in this bookring. Will read and return to aleonblue ASAP!

Journal Entry 38 by aleonblue from Brisbane, Queensland Australia on Sunday, November 04, 2007
Freeload away Erinoc - and take your time...

Journal Entry 39 by erinoc from Brisbane, Queensland Australia on Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Hi all,

thanks to aleonblue for sharing!

I loved this book. Surprisingly short but also jammed packed...a lovely change from some of the tommes I've been reading lately :) I will look out for the film - sounds perfect for a movie.



Journal Entry 40 by aleonblue from Brisbane, Queensland Australia on Sunday, December 09, 2007
THis book has made it home again after its little jaunt around the globe - and is in remarkably good condition. Thanks to all who took part in the bookring, and thanks for some great stamps (which I'll pass onto my friends' daughter) and hope you all enjoyed the book.

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