Friday Finds: Once on a Moonless Night

Friday Finds is hosted by Should Be Reading.

Here’s the blurb from the publisher:

From the author of the beloved best seller Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, a haunting tale of love and of the beguiling power of a lost language.

When Puyi, the last emperor, was exiled to Manchuria in the early 1930s, it is said that he carried an eight-hundred-year-old silk scroll inscribed with a lost sutra composed by the Buddha. Eventually the scroll would be sold illicitly to an eccentric French linguist named Paul d’Ampere, in a transaction that would land him in prison, where he would devote his life to studying the ineffably beautiful ancient language of the forgotten text.

Our unnamed narrator, a Western student in China in the 1970s, hears this story from the greengrocer Tumchooq—his name the same as that of the language in which the scroll is written—who has recently returned from three years of reeducation. She will come again and again to Tumchooq’s shop near the gates of the Forbidden City, drawn by the young man and his stories of an estranged father. But when d’Ampere is killed in prison, Tumchooq disappears, abandoning the narrator, now pregnant with his child. And it is she, going in search of her lost love, who will at last find the missing scroll and discover the truth of the Buddha’s lesson that begins “Once on a moonless night . . .” in this story that carries us across the breadth of China’s past, the myth and the reality.

What did you find this week?

9 thoughts on “Friday Finds: Once on a Moonless Night”

  1. Do you notice how once a book starts selling well, like Shanghai Girls, everybody gets on the bandwagon, i.e., in this case, books about China? My question is, once publishers figure out there is a market, how do they get all these other books so fast?!!!

  2. I hadn't realized Dai Sijie had another book out. I read Balzac and the Little Chinese Mistress years ago and really liked it.

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