coverUncomplicated storytelling. Or should I say, straight-forward storytelling. It's a pretty engaging read. There's also a movie for this. 


The novel's set in 1960s Communist China, under Chairman Mao, just after the cultural revolution. Two young boys in their teens sent to remote mountain for re-education. The narrator is one of them (he remains unnamed throughout the story) and his best friend, Luo.

Rough Notes:

  • Luo had an affair with the daughter of a tailor, i.e. the seamstress.
  • Balzac was the French author the narrator and Luo discovered from a book.
  • P. 93. – discovery of what was in Four-eyes's suitcase (Four-eye's this fella who's sent for reeducation)
  • P. 101. – Luo saw himself as rescuing the chinese seamstress who was "in need of culture". Why did he impose that need on her, I wonder?
  • P. 102. – the narrator expresses his love for books
  • P.106 – "how could I die now, not having known love or sex…"
  • P.113 – The females in the village rushed for the new clothes. Author's implying that communism did nothing to change the peasant women's love for clothes, i.e. politics and ideology doesn't change certain ingrained human traits.