15 November 2007

Dream of the Red Chamber

I finished this book several days ago but haven't had time to post since we've been getting our computer back online. It was written by Tsao Hsueh-Chin and my version was translated by Wang Chi-Cheng.

And I didn't much like it, even though it's considered one of the greatest works of Chinese fiction. It wasn't completed in the author's lifetime (it was written in the mid 1700s); various others have filled in the gaps and added to the story so it's hard to know exactly what the author intended. My translation was only 40 chapters, half as long as the original book's 80 chapters.

I think I would have liked it more if I knew more about traditional Chinese society. I am rather ignorant in that area and don't really have a desire to learn more. It was interesting though to get a glimpse of life at that time though. There are many, many characters in the book, mostly female, and it's hard to keep track of all of them.

Maybe I would have liked another translation better, or maybe I'm just not the right person to read this book.

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