Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Sijie Dai, translated by Ina Rilke


Monday, September 2 through Friday, September 13, 2002. Read by Jim Fleming.

The Cultural Revolution sent thousands of young men and women to the countryside for “reeducation.” In this charming and compelling short novel, the unnamed narrator and his friend Luo find themselves condemned to serve four years in a remote mountain village, carrying pails of excrement daily up a hill. But they are also introduced, surreptitiously, to the wonders of Balzac and “The Count of Monte Cristo.”

(Knopf; ISBN-10: 037541309X)

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Theme: excerpts from John Corigliano’s soundtrack to “The Red Violin”; Joshua Bell, violin; Philharmonia Orchestra – Esa Pekka Salonen, conductor (Sony SK 63010)