Novel written by Ts'ao Chan (1715?¨C63), generally considered to be the greatest of all Chinese novels. The work, published in English as Dream of the Red Chamber (1929), first appeared in manuscript form in Peking during Ts'ao Chan's lifetime. In 1791, almost 30 years after Ts'ao's death, the novel was published in a complete version of 120 chapters prepared by Ch'eng ...

Perhaps most famous worldwide is Hong Lou Meng (Dream of Red Chambers) (AKA the Story of the Stone) and is difficult reading in Chinese and in English. Mao Zidong said the novel had to be read at least 5 times even in Chinese for it to be fully understood. The first chapters include lots of mythical Taoist/Buddhist mumbo jumbo about the creation of the world and the left-over piece of jade that is in the mouth of Jai Baoyu when he is born. The basic story is that in heaven there was a plant faithfully watered by a gardener everyday. This plant longs for a way to repay the gardener and is therefore reborn as a lovely lady (Lin Daiyu) who in hopelessly in love with Jia Baoyu (the effeminate, intellectually lazy oldest son of the wealthy, politically powerful Jia family.

Though beautiful Lin Daiyu is sickly and petulant and not popular as a mate for the Jia Baoyu. They two and a number of other beauties who are cousins, relatives and maids are set up in a beautiful garden with their own homes and servants. The very lovely and clever Wang Xifeng (AKA Feng Lazi - Hot Wind) in the favored daugher-in-law who keeps things together for most of the novel. The family eventually chooses the beautiful and healthy and capable cousin Xue Baochai to marry Jia Baoyu who by the end of the novel realizes he loves Lin Daiyu but it too sickly mentally and physically to be truly aware of what is going on and during the ceremony in which Jia Baoyu is basically duped into marrying Xue, Lin Daiyu dies.
  • About CCC Book Club:

    The CCC Book Club is one of the earlist book clubs targeting expariates living in Beijing and the only book meeting groups focusing on China-related books for the international community.

    At the CCC' s Book Club, participants are assigned a great book to read (or selected chapters) and then asked to discuss its meanings with other book club members, using their own interpretations. All assigned books (mostly China-related fiction and non-fiction, a mix of classics and modern ones in English or with English translation) are available at CCC library and bookshop or at major foreign-language book stores where participants are encouraged to purchase their own copies. You are also welcome even though you may not have read a single page of the book yet. Just join our discussion!

    Booklist:  Click here to view the whole booklist of the past meetings.

    CCC Book Club day group:
    10:30 am, every third Wednesday of the month.

    CCC Book Club Evening Group:
    7:30 pm, every third Thursday of the month

    Note: sometimes the date is different because of holidays. So check the monthly calendar for the most up to date info during the month.

    Venue: China Culture Center, Beijing, China.