Mao's Last Dancer, Li Cunxin

cover

When the first time someone recommended this book to me, I was wondering whether I will like it as I seldom read Asian fiction books. However, I've heard a lot of good reviews about this book and I decided to give it a try.

Although I've just finished reading the book, the story still deep in my mind. This is indeed a great book which brings a lot of positivity, courages and advices to the readers. One of my favourites from this book are the fables told by the author's father and teachers. The fables are not only interesting but also contain life lessons that we can learn from it.

This story is about a peasant boy who keeps striving for higher achievement and never ever gives up no matter how many difficulties he has encountered in his life. He will try his best to resolve and "fix" any weaknesses which exist in his inner mind and try different ways to stay positive to overcome the difficulties. He always ensure that he is capable enough to carry out each role higher than what was being expected also more than the word "success". No matter how many achievements he has in his life, he always feel that he is still far away from his own expectations.

Although I was surprised with his retirement but this is understandable for the career as a dancer. One of my favourite quotes from this book is the ending part of the story:

When I had danced this role at eighteen, I bashed through the performance, focusing only on the technical aspect of the role. At twenty eight, I put all kinds of pressure on myself: I had to perform better than Baryshnikov or Nureyev, but I always came well short of my own expectations. But now, at thirty-eight, I was my own master. I had finally tasted Teacher Xiao's mango.

Why those words are my favourite one? It sounds so true in our life and this reflects how we think and what kind of role that we need to focus when we are in different age. When we are as a learner, we put our focus on technical aspects or what we had learned. When we are more familiar with what we had learned, we will set a higher goal to achieve more than our role model. Once we reach higher than the familiarity level, we can be our own master and enjoy the process rather than the technical aspect.

I'm so glad to know that the author has achieved so much in his own career and also his current life. I always wonder what I will say or how I will react if one day I see him in real person. I'm not sure why this is the first time I have such question in my mind after reading a book. :)

Rating: ★★★★★
More reviews can be found on Goodreads: Mao's Last Dancer.

Chin Yee

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