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The Dreamer Wakes (The Story of the Stone #5)

4.32  ·  Rating Details ·  372 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
"The Story of the Stone" (c. 1760), also known as "The Dream of the Red Chamber", is one of the greatest novels of Chinese literature. The fifth part of Cao Xueqin's magnificent saga, "The Dreamer Awakes", was carefully edited and completed by Gao E some decades later. It continues the story of the changing fortunes of the Jia dynasty, focussing on Bao-yu, now married to B ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published December 2nd 1986 by Penguin Group (first published 1791)
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Mar 01, 2015 Hadrian rated it it was amazing
The end.
"When grief for fiction's idle words
More real than human life appears,
Reflect that life's itself a dream
And do not mock the reader's tears."

It finally ends, after countless parties, tragedies, poetry recitals, family events and 2,500 pages. By the end of it all I had grown to like (and dislike) many of the characters in this sweeping story. I did not like Baoyu at first; the spoiled, lazy boy that he was, but he grew on me with each passing chapter. The kindness he showed to all people regardles
Dec 07, 2008 Dave rated it it was amazing
The last of five volumes that comprise "The Story of the Stone". Because no single volume really stands alone in this massive story my review will stand for all five.

I rated the first volume, "The Golden Days" with only 3 stars because it starts so slowly and requires practically the entire book just to learn the names of the principal characters and to understand their relationship to one another. I tempered that rating at the time, however, with the belief that once the story developed it woul
Andrew Fairweather

Qin Ke-qing's warning to Xi-feng all the way back in volume one has gone unheeded. The household's primary concern is still the enjoyment of wealth... karma of an unfortunate kind thus follows. In volume five, many chickens have come home to roost, many characters are arrested, many items confiscated, and Bao-yu looses his Jade only to have it returned by the Taoist monk who encourages him to enlightenment. But all ends well, loose ends are neatly tied, almost like a fairy tale...

Feb 01, 2013 Martin rated it really liked it
In the first chapter of this volume, Chapter 99, I already felt a panic attack coming on. Jia Zheng, not the most socially adept, misreads the situation in the provinces and allows his porter Li Ten to commence greasing the wheels (or extorting proceeds for himself) with the locals. Then news that Xue Pan has been found guilty after all, and that the Jias were known to have tried to affect the outcome of the case. Bao-yu is still idiotic. Xi-Feng can so obtuse regarding Bao-yu’s heart; first she ...more
Jul 09, 2013 Meghan rated it really liked it
Recommended to Meghan by: Chinese Classics Book Club
AW SHIT I FINISHED. Quite an ending, actually.
Mar 13, 2007 Alex rated it really liked it
The best part is when there is wild weeping and banishing of crooked males.
Nov 12, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it
The following review is my review for all five volumes as a whole.

I'm going to put forth an argument that books can be compared to relationships. There are books that are guilty pleasures with no literary value beyond straightforward entertainment, such as potboiler mysteries or the much maligned Harlequin style romance. These are your one-night stands of the book world.

Then there are brief forays readers take out of curiosity or biblio-style peer pressure, such as best-seller lists or perceiv
Feb 28, 2013 Helmut rated it it was amazing
Shelves: china
Ein großartiger Abschluss

Auch wenn der Übersetzer Minford einen gewissen undefinierbaren Mangel an den 40 Gao-Kapiteln ausmachen möchte, kann ich das in keiner Weise nachvollziehen, im Gegenteil: Mir gefällt dieser letzte Band des Romans mit den letzten 20 Kapiteln am besten. Er ist konziser, weniger langatmig und abwechslungsreicher als die 100 Vorgängerkapitel.

Die Katastrophenflut, die die Jia-Familie heimsucht, ist noch nicht zu ende; auch in diesem Band sind Todesnachrichten, Krankheiten und
Mar 06, 2016 Nick rated it it was amazing
A vivid and earthy new translation of what used to be called The Dream of the Red Chamber, this story of the piece-of-jade-become-charmed-human is full of the ways of Chinese aristocrats from the glory days of the Chinese Qing dynasty. You may have a hard time keeping the characters straight, but don't that stop you from enjoying the ins and outs of the men and women of a Chinese court with too much time on its hands and many, many rituals to observe.

This book is generally considered the first
Apr 09, 2011 Joanna rated it really liked it
The change in authorship is very evident here as is a tendency to want to tidy everything up. It's not exactly a disappointing conclusion, but I had the sense that I could have written it it, or indeed, anyone who had read the first 3 volumes. That mysterious feel of an intelligence guiding events from behind the scenes and moving everything towards a conclusion you can't even imagine is gone. Instead the narrative builds on what you already know and heads toward a predetermined conclusion that ...more
Jun 05, 2016 Indra rated it it was amazing
"An otherwordly tome recounts an otherwordly tale" is the best description of this book. I cannot express all it made me feel and think through the course of its 2000+ pages, but I do consider reading it a milestone in my life. I will most definitely read it again, in a couple of years, after I learn more things. It is a masterpiece, and I cannot understand exactly what it is that makes it so special.
I think i'll try to write an essay about it, it is such a rich book.
Jan 17, 2017 Lucas rated it really liked it
Last two chapters are impressively threadbare, but this book was still a phenomenal experience. It took me out of my world and into its right when I needed it and apparently has been doing so for 250 years. Not bad
Jim Elkins
Oct 09, 2012 Jim Elkins rated it it was amazing
Shelves: chinese
I read the reviews on Amazon [2007], and I thought I should add something: this novel is unbelievably beautifully written, and the English translation is absolutely superb. [return][return]You cannot find any better example of novel-writing skill in any language.
Czarny Pies
Jul 21, 2014 Czarny Pies rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes the book of Job
Recommended to Czarny by: Those who established the Chinese Canon of Four Classic Novels
Shelves: asian-literature
The Story of the Stone is one of the "Four Classic Chinese Novels." The value to the Western reader is that it provides great insight into the daily lives and culture of the Chinese Nobility in the 18th Century. Religion, which had been present but not prominent in the first four volumes of the Story of the Stone, becomes the driving force in the narrative in the second half of Volume 5.

The problem for the Western reader is trying to figure out what to mark the Story of the Stone against. The fi
Matt Kuhns
Dec 15, 2013 Matt Kuhns rated it liked it
Some scholarly debate persists as to whether the "Gao E" ending to The Story of the Stone was Cao Xueqin's intended end to his great novel, or even his work. I can see why, now, as the final chapters of this remarkable story have left me somewhat uncertain what to think at all.

Most of the minor and even major plots are resolved in an oddly pat, perfunctory fashion, particularly coming after the harrowing depth of drama even in the middle of volume five. Only the resolution for the story's hero,
And so the Dream of Golden Days draws to a close, and along with it the story of the Jia family - their decadent and luxurious lifestyle, subsequent fall from grace, and their eventual restoration. As this volume's subtitle tells, Jia Baoyu achieves the realisation that his life and its passions are but an illusion and the debts of fate foreshadowed in the first volume are finally repaid in full.

The fifth volume, translated by John Minford and edited by Gao E, systematically and at times predic
Jun 10, 2009 Mark rated it liked it
Shelves: china-and-japan
Cao Xueqin's "Story of the Stone" all volumes taken together = FIVE STARS!

However, the last two books were probably by his editor Gao E, and are not as good as the other books = THREE STARS.

What to say about a 2,000 page Chinese epic about the vanity of life? Cao Xueqin deserves the praise that he has received for his novel, "Story of the Stone". It is a beautiful and haunting look at a world that has been utterly swept away in the streams of time. Sad, beautiful, well written, and utterly for
Connie Kronlokken
It is a bit sad to end this amazing saga. Grandmother Jia and Wang Xi-feng both die and shortly following this, Bao-yu passes the state examinations at a very high level. As a result the Emperor returns to the Jia family its confiscated goods and hereditary titles. He has also given the family an heir through his marriage to Bao-chai. He never returns from the examination, instead going off into the distance with a Taoist monk and a Buddhist monk. He has become a monk himself, showing himself to ...more
Jun 16, 2010 Asa rated it it was ok
Shelves: 1001-books, woc
I would give this series as a whole a rating of 4 stars, because I really loved the first three books and the world that was built there. The last two books became less interesting, probably because the original author hadn't finished writing them and the work was taken over and added to by a later editor. The characters became flatter and less like human beings, all the details that had been there in the beginning to make you see and feel this strange world had disappeared, and I have to say th ...more
Dec 30, 2016 Pip rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This epic story of aristocratic life in eighteenth century Beijing is well worth the time it takes to get through all five volumes. It brings to life the customs and beliefs of Chinese society at the time with a vivid cast of characters, notable because most of them are women and that most of the action takes place within the family compound. I loved it.
Jun 25, 2011 Beverly rated it it was amazing
I loved this series! I always looked forward to the next volume so I could return to this seventeenth century Chinese family that I was getting to know.

This series read very unlike the typical western novel. There is a tremendous amount of poetry as well as the story takes detailed tangents on a regular basis.

I especially loved the glimpse into history these novels provide.
Feb 28, 2013 David rated it really liked it
This final volume wrapped up the entire thing in a much more pleasing way than I thought it would. It doesn't just whine about bad things that happened to a family, deserved or not. Really, there's quite a lot to take in. It's an impressive body of writing to say the least.
Tony Gualtieri
Feb 12, 2013 Tony Gualtieri rated it it was amazing
The end of a deep and engrossing novel. This beautifully structured work lives up to its reputation. I was entranced.
Sep 20, 2014 Lori rated it really liked it
The 5 stars is for the whole series.
Aug 26, 2011 Pamela607 rated it liked it
Interesting view into life in a wealthy family in China in the 1700's
Book Wormy
Nov 09, 2016 Book Wormy rated it liked it
The last volume of the story of the stone where all the loose threads are tied up.

I was expecting something more but not sure what.
ChrisP rated it really liked it
Apr 30, 2015
Maite Penna
Maite Penna rated it it was ok
May 23, 2014
Louise rated it it was amazing
May 25, 2016
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Cao Xueqin (Chinese: 曹雪芹; pinyin: Cáo Xuěqín; Wade–Giles: Ts'ao Hsueh-ch'in, 1715 or 1724 — 1763 or 1764) was a Qing Dynasty Chinese writer, best known as the author of Dream of the Red Chamber, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. His given name was Cao Zhan (曹霑) and his courtesy name is Mengruan (夢阮; 梦阮; literally "Dream about Ruan" or "Dream of Ruan")[...]
More about Cao Xueqin...

Other Books in the Series

The Story of the Stone (5 books)
  • The Golden Days (The Story of the Stone #1)
  • The Crab-Flower Club (The Story of the Stone #2)
  • The Warning Voice (The Story of the Stone #3)
  • The Debt of Tears (The Story of the Stone #4)

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“When grief for fiction’s idle words More real than human life appears, Reflect that life itself’s a dream And do not mock the reader’s tears.” 1 likes
“Better by far the destiny of plant or stone, bereft of knowledge and consciousness, but blessed at least with purity and peace of mind!’ These” 0 likes
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