Description: A young French woman in Peking in the late 1970s interprets between Chinese professors and Bertolucci for his film The Last Emperor. Afterwards, she follows a disgruntled old professor who tells her about a text believed to be taken directly from Buddha’s teachings and inscribed on silk cloth centuries ago. It was written in a now-dead language called Tumchooq (coincidentally, the name of a young Chinese man she has just met), so beautiful in its simplicity it is almost impossible to render accurately in translation. Puyi, the last emperor and last owner of this relic, allegedly tore the silk in two with his teeth while being flown to Manchuria by the Japanese, and threw the fragments from the plane. Only half of the mutilated manuscript was recovered, and the reader, like the narrator, must wait till the end of the novel to discover the rest. When the complete text is finally pieced together, its message is devastatingly simple, and all the more poignant because it has taken such sacrifice and effort to decipher.I
Number Of Pages: 224
Published: 1st March 2010
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Author Biography: Born in China in 1954, Dai Sijie is a film maker and novelist, who left China in 1984 for France where he now lives and works. He is the author of the international bestseller, Balzac and the Chinese Seamstress (shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction prize), which he made into a film, and of Mr Muo's Travelling Couch (winner of the Prix Femina).
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