Book: Dream of the Red Chamber by Tsao Hsueh Chin
#71 on the Telegraph’s 100 books everyone should read.
What is the book about?
The book is mainly about the Chia mansions and the people who live in them. They are divided into 2 households: the Ningkuofu and the Yungkuofu. The story revolves around almost all the people living there and mostly Pao-yu and all their love stories.
To me this is very like a reality show .. keeping up with the Chia’s. It’s mostly just scandal and gossip of their everyday lives. This is the only reason I gave it a D and not an F. It was not a boring read.
But I had trouble most of the time keeping up with who’s who. Some of the characters names are: Chia Chiang, Chia Gen, Chia Jui, Chia Chung. Most of the time I found myself guessing who they meant. For a person who is not familiar with the Chinese culture it might be confusing.
Also this book is described as a Chinese Romeo and Juliet, between Pao-yu and his cousin Black Jade. Black Jade did really die from grief when she knew Pao-yu will marry another. But how about Pao-yu? He got sick at first wanting to see his love, but he snapped out of it quick when his new wife told him that she passed away. He became better very quick and lived his life normally after that.
Also there are alot of things that don’t make sense. Maybe it’s because this is an abridged version, like the brick that wanted a taste of the “red chamber” (the mortal world) and came to the world as a jade around Pao-yu’s neck. What happened to it? Because it was introduced for quite a bit in the beginning, thought there will be something about it in the end (maybe with some lesson of his experience in the red chamber) or something. Also whats the deal with the Pao-yu look alike?
Anyways it wasn’t a tough read but I won’t really recommend this to anyone.. maybe the full longer version is better?
I usually like to read the books following the list in descending order. But due to the Corona virus and everything shutting down and not delivering, i will stick to the ones i have and might jump around the list and not go by order.
So next read is #66 on the list: Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky