Friday, January 29, 2010

There's plenty of reading to get your teeth into this month. 'Birdsong' by Sebastian Faulks a novel set before and during the Great War and 'Mao's Last Dancer', a true story of young boy who is plucked out of his village school in China to be taught to dance.

According to one reviewer 'An epic novel of love and war that radically defies conventional
expectations, Birdsong moves back and forth between the second decade of our violent century and the near-present to explore how the absurd carnage of World War I devastated a generation throughout western Europe and left a heritage of confusion and loss.

It is 'A profoundly humane novel that tells a riveting story spanning four generations, Birdsong addresses grand themes of the human experience while also making us care deeply about several individuals yearning to find healing love and a rationale for survival in the midst of unprecedented destruction.'

One reviewer wrote the following about "Mao's Last Dancer'.

In 1961, three years of Mao's Great Leap Forward--along with three years of poor harvests--had left rural China suffering terribly from disease and deprivation. Li Cunxin, his parents' sixth son, lived in a small house with twenty of his relatives and, along with the rest of his family, subsisted for years on the verge of starvation. But when he was eleven years old, Madame Mao decided to revive the Peking Dance Academy, and sent her men into the countryside searching for children to attend.

Chosen on the basis of his physique alone, Li Cunxin was taken from his family and sent to the city for rigorous training. What follows is the story of how a small, terrified, lonely boy became one of the greatest ballet dancers in the world. One part Falling Leaves, one part Billy EliotMao's Last Danceris an unforgettable memoir of hope and courage.

Happy reading!