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.

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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

Happiness rising from the injustise

Where does Mao's Last Dancer rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Tie first. It was first last week but then I completed "The Condition".


What was one of the most memorable moments of Mao's Last Dancer?

The story about the man who "died" because he choked on an egg and then came to life after a robber punched him in the stomach.



Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, it was interesting, heartwarming, exciting, both sad and happy.


Any additional comments?

I would like to listen to it in one sitting again and again, okay and maybe a couple more agains.

Other memorable moments:

Him breaking his pencil trying to write for the first time.

When he breaks his mother's new plates trying to make her a surprise meal.

When his parent's get applauded at the first performances of his they get to watch in America. And that curtain rise was kept on hold until they arrived.

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- Natasha "Proudly African!"

True inspiration

What an amazing inspirational story, we need more people as Mr. Li to help us understand the strengths the people of China have. Thank You Mr. Li !!!
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- Bonnie

Book Details

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