Once on a Moonless Night by Dai Sijie
(Vintage International)

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Synopsis

A precious scroll inscribed with a lost Buddhist sutra—once owned by Pu Yi, the last emperor of China—is illicitly sold to an eccentric French linguist, Paul d’Ampere, who is imprisoned as a result. In jail, he devotes himself to studying its ancient text.
 
A young Western scholar in China hears this account from the grocer Toomchooq, whose name mysteriously connects him to the document. She falls in love with both teller and tale, but when d’Ampere is killed in prison, Toomchooq disappears, and she, pregnant with his child, embarks on a search for her lost love and the scroll that begins, “Once on a moonless night . . .”




From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Dai Sijie

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Born in China in 1954, Dai Sijie is a filmmaker who was himself "re-educated" between 1971 and 1974. He left China in 1984 for France, where he has lived and worked ever since. This, his first novel, was an overnight sensation when it appeared in France in 2000, becoming an immediate best-seller and winning five prizes. Rights to the novel have been sold in nineteen countries, and it is soon to be made into a film.
 
Published August 6, 2009 by Anchor. 290 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Romance. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Once on a Moonless Night

Kirkus Reviews

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A scroll containing a Buddhist sutra written in an unknown language causes no end of trouble in Sijie's meandering novel (Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch, 2005, etc.).

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Once on a Moonless Night (Vin...

Publishers Weekly

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Acclaimed novelist Sijie has written another novel that has already caused a stir in France. Narrated by an unnamed Western student in China in the 1970s, the story begins centuries before, with th

Jun 29 2009 | Read Full Review of Once on a Moonless Night (Vin...

Book Reporter

Meanwhile, Tumchooq moves forward on his same path --- trying to understand the father he barely knew, fully know the language he was named for, and find the missing silk scrap of sutra.

Jan 13 2011 | Read Full Review of Once on a Moonless Night (Vin...

AV Club

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The author of Balzac And The Little Chinese Seamstress again explores the power of stories and mythmaking.

Sep 03 2009 | Read Full Review of Once on a Moonless Night (Vin...

The Telegraph

Written in Tumchooq (a relation to Sanskrit) and .

Jan 26 2009 | Read Full Review of Once on a Moonless Night (Vin...

A young French translator becomes obs

Apr 01 2013 | Read Full Review of Once on a Moonless Night (Vin...

Reader Rating for Once on a Moonless Night
75%

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