Reviews for Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress : A Novel

AudioFile Reviews 2003 June/July
When two boys discover a suitcase of banned Western literature (translated) during their re-education in the remote countryside of China, anything is possible. Enlightenment falls upon the Cultural Revolution with thunder and drums, depicting as well the glory of carnal love and, more subtly, the idea of individualism. Both boys retell the stories to the villagers and earn recognition from the elders, as well as from the beautiful little seamstress. Read with the tenderness it deserves by B.D. Wong, the tale unfolds to inter-mingle East and West with touching results. This is a book that can be listened to over and over to hear the missed inflections and the astonishingly vivid details. B.H.B. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award (c) AudioFile 2003, Portland, Maine

Booklist Reviews 2003 June #1
Mao's Cultural Revolution drives two educated urban boys into a remote village to be "reeducated." Their encounters in the village lead them to a cache of Western books and to a young seamstress to whom they tell stories, both as a form of entertainment and to free themselves from the horror of the revolution. Filled with wry humor and sly political comments, the novel is subtly read by Wong. Through his inflection and tones, he expresses both the frustration and the humor of the boys' experiences. Adding further atmosphere, Wong ably captures the merging of East and West as the boys interpret the Western books. --Mary McCay Copyright 2003 Booklist Reviews