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Download Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress Audiobook, by Dai Sijie Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.91 out of 53.91 out of 53.91 out of 53.91 out of 53.91 out of 5 3.91 (23 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Dai Sijie Narrator: B. D. Wong Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2002 ISBN: 9780739301029
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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.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • A funny, touching, sly and altogether delightful novel . . . about the power of art to enlarge our imaginations. The Washington Post Book World
  • “Poetic and affecting. . . . The descriptions of life in this strangest of times and places are so riveting that the reader longs for more. The New York Times Book Review
  • [A] thrilling and . . . truly great work. . . . [A] richly complex fable. San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
  • Gives the rest of the world a glimpse into that dark place where the human spirit continues, against all odds, to shine its light. The Boston Globe
  • A wonderful novel . . . formed by detailed layering and exquisite craftsmanship, like a beautifully tailored garment. The Chicago Tribune
  • Poignant, humorous, and romantic. The New York Times
  • Seduces readers into its world. . . . [A] very wise little story of love and illusion. The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • “Poetic and affecting…The descriptions of life in this strangest of times and places are so riveting that the reader longs for more.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • An unexpected miracle–a delicate, and often hilarious, tale. Los Angeles Times Book Review
  • “An unexpected miracle—a delicate, and often hilarious, tale.”

    Los Angeles Times Book Review

  • “A funny, touching, sly and altogether delightful novel.”

    Washington Post Book World

  • “[A] thrilling and…truly great work…[A] richly complex fable.”

    San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

  • “A wonderful novel…formed by detailed layering and exquisite craftsmanship, like a beautifully tailored garment.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Poignant, humorous, and romantic.”

    New York Times

  • “Seduces readers into its world…[A] very wise little story of love and illusion.”

    Philadelphia Inquirer

  • “Gives the rest of the world a glimpse into that dark place where the human spirit continues, against all odds, to shine its light.”

    Boston Globe

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sally Monaghan | 2/5/2014

    " Really interesting book about a time and place I know nothing about. In China in the 1970s, two young men from educated families sent by the government to the country for "re-education." Although books are banned, the men find a hidden stash of books. Not only did this book provide a very vivid description of China at that time, it also demonstrates the power of learning and literacy to change lives. It was a really great book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dan Piette | 1/21/2014

    " China in 1967 and the consequences of literature "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nicole Ristine | 1/19/2014

    " I thought this book was boring. There was no character and story development. It lacked emotion. It did have some good irony at the end, but only enough to make it 2 stars instead of 1, not enough to salvage it. The author hints about exciting things that might happen but never do. It felt empty and unfinished. It's sad because It could have been a great book, it had such potential. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brian Derbes | 1/13/2014

    " Beautiful little story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dan | 1/13/2014

    " Loosely based on the author's own experiences during Mao's cultural revolution, this story paints a human face on history. A quick and enjoyable read that gives a detailed although fictionalized look at what intellectuals experienced in the late 1960's and early 1970's in China. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Veronica | 12/6/2013

    " it was aaaaight "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Thomasin | 11/22/2013

    " I suppose I enjoy the read, but I'm still not sure it warrents 3 starts (maybe I should only have given 2?). Quick, easy to digest, and interesting enough. But nothing that will change your world. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Phil Overeem | 8/28/2013

    " What an ending--just the kind I like: risky. Would love to teach this book to high schoolers some day. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nash Tysmans | 8/17/2013

    " China's cultural revolution + another book about books and reading + some mystery over a woman ---this needs a re-read too. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Fred | 4/4/2013

    " A well written book I've shared with many customers in my bookstores. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Keri Ngo | 1/12/2013

    " Not one of my favorite books, but definitely not the worst. The message of the novel and how Dai Sijie wished to potray it is quite enjoyable. Despite my personal tastes pertaining to the characters and plot, it could be said to be a well-written book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Arlene | 5/16/2012

    " What a crazy time to be alive in China. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stacey | 12/25/2011

    " enchanting storytelling... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sabena | 11/21/2011

    " Loving this story, exquisite writing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Johnathon | 11/5/2011

    " Excellent, subtle symbolism. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jillanne Johnson | 9/24/2011

    " This was a unique read for me. For a deep and serious topic about re-education during the cultural revolution in communist China, there was so much of the story that was light hearted and entertaining. There were a few times where I caught myself unexpectedly smiling! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Histteach24 | 6/26/2011

    " A true look at China under Mao and a life of "reeducation" and censorship. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Don | 6/23/2011

    " A novel about surviving reeducation during the cultural revolution. Timely and provocative. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 6/22/2011

    " Lovely sparse (French style?) novel. Style so readable and simple. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Yllacaspia | 6/15/2011

    " I read this book when I was 18 or 19 and really loved it. I loved the gentle rhythms of the narrative and it made a real impression on me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sofia | 6/8/2011

    " Me gustó. En cierta forma retrata la forma en que los libros cambian la vida de una mujer.
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Meredith | 6/7/2011

    " A sweet little read, heartbreaking and eye-opening. I knew a little about the Chinese cultural revolution going in, but I'd forgotten how recent it actually was. Can't wait to discuss it with book club! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melissa.d.flores | 6/6/2011

    " A short, fun, interesting read. Intriguing little ending too! "

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About the Narrator

B.D. Wong was born and raised in San Francisco, California. He made his Broadway debut in M. Butterfly. He is the only actor to be honored with the Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Clarence Derwent Award, and Theater World Award for the same performance. He starred in the television series All-American Girl, and has made guest appearances on Sesame Street and The X-Files.