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Publisher's Summary

In this lyrical reimagining of the Chinese classic Dream of the Red Chamber, set against the breathtaking backdrop of 18th-century Beijing, the lives of three unforgettable women collide in the inner chambers of the Jia mansion. When orphaned Daiyu leaves her home in the provinces to take shelter with her cousins in the Capital, 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 finds herself entangled in a web of intrigue and hidden passions, reaching from the petty gossip of the servants' quarters all the way to the Imperial Palace. When a political coup overthrows the emperor and plunges the once-mighty family into grinding poverty, each woman must choose between love and duty, friendship and survival.

In this dazzling debut, Pauline A. Chen draws the reader deep into the secret, exquisite world of the women's quarters of an aristocratic household, where the burnish of wealth and refinement mask a harsher truth: marriageable girls are traded like chattel for the family's advancement, and to choose to love is to risk everything.

©2012 Pauline A. Chen (P)2012 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"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." (Julie Otsuka, author of The Buddha in the Attic)
"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." (Arthur Golden, author of Memoirs of a Geisha )
"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." (Janice Lee, author of The Piano Teacher)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Patti
  • Chittenango, NY, United States
  • 07-18-14

Good Story

If you like ancient Chinese literature, this is a book for you. Despite the difficulty of strange names, it is easy to follow the players. Three young women's lives come together by way of family connections. Times go from plenty to poverty. The women have no power yet they are the ones to strategize their survival. Narration is well done.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

excellent story, of chinese origin

as i understand it, this is an interpretation of a classic chinese story. although some take issue with the accuracy of the translation/depiction, for those of us who are not as well versed, this is simply a beautiful story ... exotic and far removed from modern life. i give this book 5 stars.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

The Harrowing Story of Generations

A sweeping tale of family intrigue, fabulous wealth, and destructive love. Pauline Chen merges historical beauty with a classic portayal of emotional family drama. Read by the graceful accuracy of Grayce Wey.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Wonderful Chinese soap opera

Where does The Red Chamber rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is probably one of my favorite Audible books and performances.

What other book might you compare The Red Chamber to and why?

Memoirs of a Geisha...it's that type of saga

What does Grayce Wey bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I loved how she differentiated her characterization of each of the many characters, and I appreciated her pronounciation of the Chinese names and words.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

True love or family duty - do you have a choice?

Any additional comments?

I enjoyed this book so much. The female characters drove the book. I enjoyed naive Daiyu, selfish Baochai, and I felt so bad for strong, neglected Xifeng. Granny was a mean, shrewd old bird! But the ending was the very best part for me. If you like Chinese historical fiction like I do, don't hesitate to purchase this!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great Book

What did you love best about The Red Chamber?

I found the sortry line very interesting.

Who was your favorite character and why?

They each had a good point to them

What about Grayce Wey’s performance did you like?

The way she is able to change the voive to meet the person was very good

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I could have but never had that amount of time.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Hmmm

The narrator was great . I don’t know how I feel about this version of the book but I absolutely enjoyed listening to the book . I have been looking for the drama for ages but I guess it’s ban in the USA so the book was the next best thing

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Kimberly
  • Kansas City, MO United States
  • 01-25-18

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan this isn’t....

I kept waiting for the story to really take off....it never happens. It plods along w/ out a lot of character development and never really goes anywhere. And the narrator reads it with this terrible “Chinese accent” it’s absolutely ridiculous; and honestly pretty insensitive. It’s a 2 1/2 star book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Narrator, Interesting Novel

An often sad, but very intriguing work of historical fiction. Chen does an excellent job of sharing her characters' deepest thoughts while weaving an engaging narrative. The narration is outstanding.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent!

great story that kept me interested the entire time. The performance was very well done. the reader was able to change her voice based on the characters and made me feel like it was a play. now I look forward to the movie...

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

so good i had to listen twice!

this is such a great story. so touching and meaningful. i have been looking for a translated version of the original but hard to find. this is a vet good rendition though.