The Story of the Stone, Volume 1: The Golden Days (Penguin Classics)
The first of five volumes, Cao Xueqin’s story of the rise and decline of the powerful Jia family is a riveting and thrilling historical saga. Set against a tapestry as diverse and rich as Chinese history, this is a beautifully rendered story done with equal parts humor, exquisite detail and gentle poetry. Edging the story with a feeling not unlike déjà vu is the pervasive reminder that another plane of existence is just beyond reach, affirming a Buddhist belief. Firmly cemented in the canon of Chinese literature, this is a series you won’t soon forget.