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“Truth becomes fiction when the fiction is true; Real becomes not-real when the unreal is real.”
How can you not be grabbed by an opening couplet like that!? Classed as one of China’s Four Great Classical Novels, The Dream of the Red Chamber boasts a cast of almost 500 characters, and now has an entire academic discipline – “Redology” – dedicated to its study! The core of the novel is semi-autobiographical, recounting the fall, over several generations, of a once rich and powerful aristocratic family in Qing dynasty China, with a frame narrative telling of a sentient Stone, abandoned by the gods, who travels around with a Buddhist monk and a Taoist priest. Drama, romance, rivalry, religion, and a ton of detail on 18th Century aristocratic China; it’s no wonder this is one of the best selling novels of all time.
All statistics from Wikipedia.org
(What? A blog isn’t a formal essay, I can reference wiki if I like…)