University of Manitoba political studies professor
"I just finished reading Dai Saijie's Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress. It is a fascinating semi-autobiographical story set in 1971 about two young men who are forced relocate and work in a remote part of China. Their relocation was deemed necessary by the government because their parents were labelled dangerous intellectuals. The story weaves together several important themes, but the ones that resonated with me as a political studies professor include the desire of the human spirit to learn and seek freedom. At several turns in the story, the characters find small ways to express themselves despite the constant watch of the oppressive totalitarian regime at that time."