Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress - Ina Rilke, Sijie Dai 2 1/2 stars

I liked a lot about this book, and the main character, and it's premise of reading forbidden western books in communist China, but I was filled with dismay by the approach the author took to the abortion. I understand that in communist China, the Little Seamstress would have felt that she had no choice but to get an abortion, but the way the abortion was presented too lightly. The ending of the book was not very satisfying either, I couldn't believe Luo would burn the books for anything less than avoiding discovery, and even then... I was also confused by the sudden character POV switch near the end.

There were scenes I liked. At the beginning when Luo and the main character (whose name, if we were ever told it, I can't remember) saved the MC's violin by saying that he had played a concerto called "Mozart Loves Chairman Mao." That was interesting and served to show what a weird environment they were living in that claiming such an outrageous title for a Mozart piece could save a violin. I liked it when they stole the books from Four-Eyes, and I really liked the scene when they were fixing the village chairman's cavity, but given my high expectations for the book, I was quite disappointed.