Kate's Reviews > Dream of the Red Chamber

Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin
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's review

really liked it
bookshelves: classics, world-lit

Overall, this book--one of the four Chinese Classic Novels--was a marvelous read, although its intricacy cannot be overstated. Some compare it to Shakespeare, but it's more like a saga with little Shakespearean offshoots every few chapters. The cast of characters is enormous, and the overarching narrative truly does transcend space and time.

My primary complaint about this book--a long, complex, elegant Chinese drama--is that it needs a better guide to the characters. There is a genealogy chart in the front, but it is incomplete, and there are so many distant relatives, recurrent unrelated characters, and servants not mentioned in the genealogy, that a list of dramatis personae (in addition to a thorough and complete genealogy chart) would have been very helpful.

A glossary would also have been handy. Chinese terms and honorifics are usually explained when they first appear, but if I needed to double-check what a term meant, I had to find the page where it first appeared to do so. A glossary would have solved that problem. (Of course, knowing some basic Mandarin would have been even better, but unfortunately I lack that skill set.)
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Reading Progress

March 9, 2013 – Started Reading
March 9, 2013 – Shelved
April 10, 2013 – Finished Reading
April 13, 2013 – Shelved as: classics
April 13, 2013 – Shelved as: world-lit

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