WHO: Pauline A. Chen
THE RED CHAMBER,
a debut novel
Published by Knopf July 13, 2012
Set in eighteenth-century Beijing
“Irresistible…a stunning success.
“The 2,500-page, 18th-century classic Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin is considered China’s most important work of fiction. Chen tackles the daunting task of adapting the revered original text, and her literary bravado engenders a stunning success.
“Chen chooses three women to tell the story of the prominent Jia family: controlling granddaughter-in-law Xifeng, dutiful cousin-by-marriage Baochi, and naive granddaughter Daiyu—who returns to the ancestral compound after a two-generation estrangement. Chen well realizes ‘[a] woman doesn’t have any choices in life’ in 18th-century Beijing with her future determined by family to be a wife, concubine, or serving slave, and thus imbues these women with a deservedly rich inner life. Fans of historical fiction who appreciate resonant details, unexpected intrigue, and multigenerational plotting will find The Red Chamber irresistible.
“With just the right blend of the highbrow literary—Chen’s pedigree includes Harvard, Yale Law, and a Princeton Ph.D. in Chinese literature—and guilty summer pulp, Chen just might put this 18th-century classic on 21st-century bestseller lists.”
—Terry Hong, LIBRARY JOURNAL
“A compelling glimpse into an exotic time and place.”
—Margaret Flanagan, BOOKLIST
About the book | Author bio | Read an excerpt | Download the jacket or the author photo | Listen to the RH Audiobook
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