More like 3 3/4 stars, just shy of 4. The middle part lagged a little hence three stars. This is Dai Sijie third novels, his first since winning the Femina in 2003 with "Le complexe de Di". It's a slow and somewhat nostalgic narrative. We follow the narrator, a young French woman who studied Chinese in Beijing in the late 1970's, fell in love with a young Chinese man with a troubled past. Both their lives are entwined in the most singular yet delightful way. Both become obsessed with a long lost silk scroll inscribed with an obscure language. Both lose themselves in this obsession. It's almost genetic for them. The middle part could have been shorter or edited in a way that it could have been incorporated in the last part making the flow of the narration less chaotic. The ending is very much in keeping with the Chinese, Asian way of seeing and experiencing live. I'm glad I read it.