CHINA/Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress/E/D

Franz und ich auf der Chinesischen Mauer/

Franz und ich auf der Chinesischen Mauer/

Summary of the story/questions/audio

This photo is not from the Szechuan  but from the Huang Shan Mountains in the Anhui region, which is  still in China! Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie. (Book and film)

Ich hoffe, dass sich auch Englischlernende deutscher oder italienischer Muttersprache mit China beschäftigen möchten!

During this summer I’ve read the above mentioned book which I’ve very much enjoyed.


 The story is about  two teenage boys ( Ma and Luo)who are sent to a political re-education camp in 1971 at the remote Mountain of the Phoenix of the Sky in Sechuan, because, in those dark days of China’s Cultural Revolution, their parents have been doctors and therefore considered enemies of the people. Despite the fact that it is about a really dark period in China’s history its quirky humour has also mademe smile, especially when Luo explains the people in that remote village that Ma’s piece of music he used to play is called „Mozart is Thinking of Chairman Mao“, or when the same people are fascinated by Luo’s clock.

During their stay up there, the boys make friendship with Four-Eyes , who secretly possesses an illicit catch of European classic novels, including Balzac and Flaubert.  Through these books , which they steal, they are able to enter  the world of sensuality and sensitivity far removed from Mao’s China.

Maos China

Maos China

The Little Seamstress, whom the boys at first consider the most delightful character of the story. She is the daughter of a very appreciated and famous local tailor. They boys read these books to this beautiful and shy girl and through them  she  learns about the outside world and finally leaves the mountain and everything she knew in order to start a new life, despite the fact that she has fallen in love with both the boys. The book has an enormous emotional power, when the writer describes the resilience of the human spirit in face of tyranny. Ma and Luo are capable of fooling around , cheating the authorities or pursuing friendships and love. Click on the link and you can listen to some questions about the book or the summary here above:

Balzac and the little Chinese

If you click on this link you can read some yes/no questions about the book and see the correct the answers online

Whereas on the following link you can read the summary and then do a multiple choice exercise:

Bauer in China

Bauer /Fischer in China

Revision powerpoint about this story, the writer and the period in which the story is set.


CLICK HERE:Balzac and the ..

Besides, there are two  other absolutely touching and highly interesting books concerning China:” A Thousand Years of Good Prayers ” (shortstories) and “The Vagrants” by Yiyun Li.


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