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


My husband and me have managed to walk on this impressive wall in 2008!

Mein Mann und ich haben es geschafft im Jahr 2008 auf dieser Mauer zu gehen ohne etwas zu kaufen!!

Mio marito ed io siamo riusciti a camminare su questo impressionante muro in 2008 e senza comprare niente!

Here below you can read and download my whole summary of this quite touching story in English, which I read some years ago and about which I had already partly blogged, but which I consider quite important to reread in this period!

Gleich hier unten könnt ihr meine ganze Zusammenfassung von dieser ergreifenden Geschichte auf Englisch lesen. Ich habe dieses Buch vor mehreren Jahren gelesen und teilweise auch darüber auch gebloggt. Ich finde, dass es ein guter Zeitpunkt ist noch einmal über diese Geschichte nachzudenken!

Potete leggere il mio riassunto completo di questa struggente storia in inglese proprio qui sotto. L’ho letto diversi anni fa e ne ho parlato sul blog. Trovo la situazione mondiale opportuno per riflettere su questa storia!

If you feel like you can listen to some questions concerning this novel.

This photo here below is not from Sichuan where the story of “Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress” by Dai Sijie, takes place, but from the Huang Shan Mountains in the Anhui region, which is still in China.

Das Foto weiter unten ist nicht aus Sichuan, wo sich diese Geschichte abspielt, sondern von den Huang Shan Bergen in der Provinz Anhui, die immer noch zu China gehört.

La foto qui di sotto non è di Szechuan, dove la storia di “Balzac e la piccola sarta cinese si svolge, ma dalle montagne Huang Shan nella provincia di Anhui!

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

Spero che anche persone di lingua madre italiana trovino il piacere di occuparsi con la Cina!

IMG_1206

 

The story is about two teenage boys (Ma and Luo) who were 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 made me smile, especially when Luo explains the people in that remote village that Ma’s piece of music he used to play was 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 they are able to enter the world of sensuality and sensitivity far removed from Mao’s China.

Vor 10 Jahren habe ich das obige Buch gelesen und es hat mir sehr gefallen. Es geht darin um zwei junge Studenten (Ma und Luo), die 1971 in die entlegenen «„Phönix-des-Himmels“ Berge geschickt wurden, um umerzogen zu werden. In jenen dunklen Tagen von Maos Chinesischer Revolution waren die Eltern jener Jungen Ärzte und somit Feinde des Volkes. Obwohl sich diese Geschichte in einer wirklich schrecklichen Epoche abspielt, ist sie voller Humor, der mich wirklich zum Schmunzeln gebracht hat, vor allem, wenn Luo den Leuten dort im kleinen Dorf erklärt, dass das Musikstück, welches Ma jeweils spielte, «Mozart denkt an den Vorsitzenden Mao» heisst, oder wenn die Menschen von Luos Uhr begeistert waren.

Während ihres Aufenthaltes in den Bergen, befreundeten sie sich mit «Vieraugen», der heimlich eine Anzahl von europäischen Klassikern besass, die sie dann stahlen, weil sie damals unter dem kommunistischen System natürlich absolut verboten waren. Darunter befanden sich Bücher von Balzac und Flaubert, durch welche es ihnen möglich war in die Welt der Sinnlichkeit und des Empfindens.

La storia parla di due ragazzi adolescenti (Ma e Luo) che sono stati mandati in un campo di rieducazione politica nel 1971 nella remota Montagna della Fenice del Cielo a Sechuan, perché, in quei giorni bui della Rivoluzione Culturale cinese, i loro genitori sono stati medici e quindi considerati nemici del popolo. Nonostante il fatto che parli di un periodo davvero buio della storia della Cina, il suo umorismo eccentrico mi ha fatto anche sorridere, soprattutto quando Luo spiega alla gente di quel remoto villaggio che il pezzo di musica che suonava Ma si chiamava “Mozart sta pensando al presidente Mao”, o quando le stesse persone sono affascinate dall’orologio di Luo.
Durante la loro permanenza lassù, i ragazzi fanno amicizia con Quattrocchi , che possiede segretamente una pesca illecita di romanzi classici europei, tra cui Balzac e Flaubert. Attraverso questi libri riescono ad entrare nel mondo della sensualità e della sensibilità molto lontano dalla Cina di Mao.

Maos China
Maos China

The Little Seamstress, whom the boys at first consider uncultivated is 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 !

Die kleine Schneiderin, welche die jungen Studenten zuerst als unkultiviert erachten, ist nach meiner Meinung, der bezauberndste Charakter in dieser Geschichte. Sie ist die sehr geachtete, schüchterne und wunderschöne Tochter eines berühmten einheimische Schneiders und die jungen Leute lesen ihr diese speziellen Bücher vor. Durch sie hört sie von der Welt ausserhalb Chinas und verlässt schlussendlich die Berge und alles, was sie kennt, um anderswo ein neues Leben anzufangen. Das Buch hat eine gewaltige emotionale Kraft, vor allem, wenn der Schriftsteller die Widerstandsfähigkeit des menschlichen Geistes gegenüber der Tyrannei beschreibt. Ma und Luo sind ihrerseits fähig Spässe zu machen, die Behörden zu täuschen oder Freundschaft oder Liebe zu suchen.

La piccola sarta, che i giovani studenti all’inizio considerano poco sofisticati, è, secondo me, il personaggio più affascinante di questa storia. È la figlia molto rispettata, timida e bella di un famoso sarto locale e i giovani le leggono questi libri speciali. Attraverso loro sente parlare del mondo fuori dalla Cina e alla fine lascia le montagne e tutto ciò che conosce per iniziare una nuova vita altrove. Il libro ha un enorme potere emotivo, specialmente quando lo scrittore descrive la resilienza dello spirito umano di fronte alla tirannia. Da parte loro, Ma e Luo sono capaci di fare scherzi, ingannare le autorità o cercare amicizia o amore.


Bauer in China
Bauer /Fischer in China

If you feel like, watch the film with English subtitles, which is very nice!

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.

https://rivella49.wordpress.com/2014/10/18/hongkongchinapearl-buckde/

https://rivella49.wordpress.com/?s=A+THOUSAND+YEARS+OF+GOOD+PRAYERS

17 replies »

  1. Ich denke, man muss das Buch wirklich gelesen haben, um diese Eindrücke der Gegensätzlichkeiten so richtig “zu erleben”. Aber du hast genau das schon sehr gut vermitteln können. Die Geschichte scheint einerseits wirklich die Dramatik der Zeit aber auch die individuelle Geschichte in der Geschichte im Besonderen und in Verbindung so tiefgehen zu lassen.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post and photos, Martina! Wonderful that you visited China! I will look for “Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress” in my local library. Sounds really good (and I’m a big fan of Balzac’s work).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Danke, liebe Martina, fuer die Vorstellung dieses Buches. Aus Deiner Rezension spricht die Freude, es gelesen zu haben.
    Apropos China: Mary war vor ein paar Jahren dort, und es hat ihr ausgezeichnet gefallen.
    Liebe Gruesse, und hab’ ein feines Wochenende,
    Pit

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sich mit China zu beschäftigen oder das Land zu bereisen scheint mir eine grosse und sehr interessante Aufgabe, lieber Pit, aber eben auch angsteinflössend, wie z.B. ein Verbot zu lernen und sich von unabhängiger Seite zu informieren!
      Ich danke dir ganz herzlich für deine Zeilen und grüsse auch deine Frau Mary:)
      Martina

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What a gentle story, Martina, although it deals with raw emotions. Yet the purity of these children’s souls and their gift for optimism is something we are lucky to take from their tale.

    And what a marvelous walk this must have been! Blessed memories.
    All the best wishes.
    Pat

    Liked by 2 people

    • Your words, Patricia, are full of empathy and show how very important books are and how they may help people not to lose hope and, on the contrary, may help to learn and see that untollerable situations can be changed for the better.
      Thank you so much for your point of view:)
      Best wishes to you, too
      Martina

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Martina, thank you for sharing about this book. I did download the word document and read it. I don’t know that much about China and I am always interested to learn more. I found this book on Amazon US and I thought I’d share the link here in case another reader wants to purchase the kindle book: https://www.amazon.com/Balzac-Little-Chinese-Seamstress-Sijie-ebook/dp/B07XB4CL5Q. I am looking forward to another amazing reading journey.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you very much Roberta, for your interests and for your link:) It’s such a great pleasure and highly important to read books and travel in this way and learn more about countries or their history and maybe become more aware of the freedom we have in doing so!
      I wish you another good read and it is always a pleasure to chat with you:)

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Am glad to get a response back from you, I was looking for an old friend of mine when i ran into your profile, I could not get my eyes of it that was how i sent you a comment message so we could share more about each other, if you don’t mind. You send me a message through email frankgarry701@gmail.com
    .Hope to read back from you soon.

    Like

  7. Hi Martina, thanks for sharing, and including the link to the youtube video. You may be interested in two other books that speak to the communist re-education and the resilience of the human person: “Do not Sy we have nothing” by Madeleine Thien (Giller Prize winning book), and “The Sympathizer” by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Pulitzer prize winning book). I don’t know if they are translated into German; they are remarkable well told stories that captures something of what you noted here in your post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much, Rusty, for your comment to my post about the book concerning China during the cultural revolution which lasted from 1966-1976 and your proposals of very interesting and highly prized books. In “The Sympathizer” the narrator seems to be both a captain in the South Vietnamese Army and a spy for the North Vietnamese and “Do not Say we have nothing” seems really to be about my mentioned period in China. I have added both of them to my reading list!:) This one has been published in Canada so that I suppose that it must have been written in English and not Chinese!
      All the best

      Liked by 1 person

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