The Story of the Stone: The Crab-Flower Club (Volume II) - Cao Xueqin
"The Story of the Stone" (c. 1760), also known as "The Dream of the Red Chamber", is one of the greatest novels of Chinese literature. The fifth part of Cao Xueqin's magnificent saga, "The Dreamer Awakes", was carefully edited and completed by Gao E some decades later. It continues the story of the changing fortunes of the Jia dynasty, focussing on Bao-yu, now married to Bao-chai, after the tragic death of his beloved Dai-yu. Against such worldly elements as death, financial ruin, marriage, decadence and corruption, his karmic journey unfolds. Like a sleepwalker through life, Bao-yu is finally awakened by a vision, which reveals to him that life itself is merely a dream, 'as moonlight mirrored in the water'.