Monday, September 28, 2009

Once on a Moonless Night by Dai Sijie, translated by Adrianna Hunter

This is a fascinating novel about an ancient silk scroll with a mysterious Buddhist sutra written on it. The last Chinese Emperor Puyi has inherited the silk scroll centuries later but torn it in half under Japanese occupation. The obsession with finding the lost half and translating the unknown manuscript of the scroll has led to linguist Paul d Ampere's imprisonment. The narrator, a French student studying at Beijing University, determines to search for the history and meaning of the scroll. She falls in love with the street vendor Tumchooq, since he may provide her with the "link." Her life then takes an unexpected course...

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