Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

Based on a novel written by Dai Sijie, who also directed the film.
ISBN: 978-0385722209
Publisher – Anchor (October 29, 2002)

I read Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress soon after it came out.  A few years later, we drove more than sixty miles to see the Mandarin language movie. Checking Amazon this morning, I saw there have been 230 customer reviews for the book with a four out of five star average. This short novel spent twenty-three weeks on the New York Times best-seller list. The author, born in China, moved to France where he learned to read, speak and write French. The book was originally written in French and translated into English by Ina Rilke.

Dai Sijie

The story is about two likable, teenage boys and their struggle after being banished to a peasant village for “re-education” during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Sons of doctors and dentists, the boys work at muscling buckets of excrement up the mountainside and mining coal. Then there is the little seamstress of the title, whom Luo, one of the boys, falls in love with. He dreams of transforming the seamstress from a simple country girl into a sophisticated lover. He succeeds beyond his expectations, but the result is not what he expected.

This link goes to the Mandarin language DVD with English subtitles.

Discover more Chinese cinema through Joan Chen’s Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

Where to Buy

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3 Responses to Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

  1. Roxie says:

    I saw this movie. Nice!

  2. […] Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress or Not One […]

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