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1 Burnside Literature- A to Z

The Red Chamber


The Red Chamber Cover

ISBN13: 9780307701572
ISBN10: 0307701573
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Reading Group Guide

The questions, discussion topics, and suggestions for further reading that follow are intended to enrich your discussion of Pauline A. Chen’s The Red Chamber.

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oberlin_reader, July 14, 2012 (view all comments by oberlin_reader)
You will live and breathe through these characters; feel the cool brush of silk against your skin, see the enclosed beauties of the lush garden where the Jia youth welcome their young unknown cousin, Daiyu, from the country. The book is full of the poetry of that world, and the perversity of fate as their young lives play out. By the end, you won't want to let any of it go.
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Product Details

Chen, Pauline A.
Knopf Publishing Group
Chen, Pauline
Literature-A to Z
Publication Date:
9.49 x 6.6 x 1.41 in 1.5 lb

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Cultural Heritage
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Debut Fiction

The Red Chamber Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 400 pages Knopf Publishing Group - English 9780307701572 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "YA author Chen's debut novel for adults is a modern retelling of Cao Xueqin's 18th-century Chinese classic, Dream of the Red Chamber. While it doesn't hold a candle to the original in length or its Tolstoy-esque cast of characters, this revamped version retains much of its predecessor's spirit. Focusing mostly on three female characters — once sequestered 17-year-old Daiyu, who is shipped off to live with her unknown rich relatives in Beijing after her mother's death; ornery 23-year-old Xifeng, whose husband conspicuously cheats on her; and matronly18-year-old Xue Baochai, an earnest shadow of a girl in love with Baoyu, Daiyu's charming cousin — Chen (Peiling and the Chicken-Friend Christmas) plumps the epic tale full of lavish details of the palace, sumptuous feasts, and day-to-day minutiae, levitating whispered conversations overheard by the wrong parties, capricious scheming between family members, and gossip hidden beneath every elegant tapestry and beaded pillow to lofted heights. Aside from the entertaining love triangle between Daiyu, Baochai, and Baoyu, there's much to do about more serious matters, too — especially in the latter half of the novel, when political unrest in Beijing threatens to destroy the family's tenuous hierarchy. For those familiar with the original, there's also a different ending. Supplemental material includes an author's note, the Jia family tree, and a list of major characters. First printing: 60,000. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "Pauline Chen’s boldly imagined retelling of The Dream of the Red Chamber is a literary wonder. An epic yet intimate account of palace intrigue and political tumult that dazzles on every page. Heartbreaking, exhilarating, and impossible to put down."
"Review" by , "Rarely does a cast of beloved literary figures from another culture and time come alive on the pages of a modern writer's work. Pauline Chen has reimagined the characters from my very favorite novel to make a compelling new version of China's great literary masterpiece. I highly recommend The Red Chamber. It will transport you into an altogether new world."
"Review" by , "In Pauline Chen's transporting interpretation of the Chinese classic The Dream of the Red Chamber, the byzantine machinations and behind-the-screen politics of the Jia family are so skillfully rendered as to bring to mind a delicate ink painting suddenly and vividly brought to life. A remarkable achievement."
"Review" by , "The Red Chamber draws a memorable portrait of the Qing dynasty era, revealing a dangerous world of intrigue and secrets within the entrapping web of societal mores and manners. Written in a precise, cinematic style, Chen's novel brings this fascinating historical period to vivid life."
"Synopsis" by , An epic reimagining of the Chinese classic Dream of the Red Chamber, set against the breathtaking backdrop of eighteenth-century Beijing, where the lives of three unforgettable women collide in the Inner Chambers of a ducal mansion.

When the orphaned Daiyu leaves her home in the provinces to seek shelter with her cousins in Beijing, she is drawn into a world of opulent splendor presided over by the ruthless, scheming Xifeng and the prim, repressed Baochai. As she learns the secrets behind their glittering facades, she is tangled in a web of intrigue reaching all the way to the Emperor's Palace, and finds herself no longer able to distinguish friend from foe.

From the petty gossip of the servants' quarters to the political turmoil that will overthrow the dynasty and plunge the once-mighty family into grinding poverty, The Red Chamber is a sweeping portrait of three women whose lives are transformed by the power of friendship and the force of history in a world where love and duty tear them apart.

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