Mao's Last Dancer

  • by Li Cunxin
  • Narrated by Paul English
  • 8 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

One day, not so very many years ago, a small peasant boy was chosen to study ballet at the Beijing Dance Academy. His mother urged him to take this chance of a lifetime. But Li was only eleven years old and he was scared and lonely, pushed away from all that he had ever known and loved. He hated the strict training routines and the strange place he had been brought to. All he wanted to do was go home - to his mother, father, and six brothers, to his own small village. But soon Li realised that his mother was right. He had the chance to do something special with his life - and he never turned back.


What the Critics Say

"Plucked from poverty, Li Cunxin was brought to Beijing to learn ballet. Later, after defecting, he became a principal dancer in both the Houston and the Australian Ballets, ultimately becoming world renowned. Paul English's crisp accents march precisely through Chinese pronunciations and the difficult stories of Li's early life in Quingdao. Occasionally, English pauses on emotional peaks, portraying, for example, Li's fear when his mother faints from hunger and his loneliness while adjusting to life at the dance school. Mostly, English's level narration allows listeners to imagine the contrasts of Li's life - his incomprehension of the wealth and freedom he sees while visiting the U.S. And, soon after, his struggle to attain them." ( AudioFile Magazine)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


An informative, entertaining, evocative and inspiring story. I listened to this over several days and was captivated. Peasant China and Mao's 'Cultural Revolution' were especially informative areas and were dealt with in detail but I felt the ending a little rushed and sparse. Perhaps this was because 75% of the story is captivating due to the colourful and at times bizarre 'foreign' and 'exotic' setting. Once the story shifts to the West and focuses more on bureaucracy and politics, the pace was lost. Given the autobiographical nature of the book this is unavoidable but despite my criticism, Mao's Last Dancer is well worth experiencing - in any format.
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- ne5566

Maos last Dancer

A moving story of a courageous young man and his family i have spent had to go to rural china his description transported me there. He describes the people i've been loving and kind which they are
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- Ms

Book Details

  • Release Date: 18-12-2012
  • Publisher: Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd