This is rated one of the greatest works of Chinese literature. Metaphysical, allegorical, and vividly realistic, the immense scope of The Story of the Stone provides something for everyone. A rich family saga, a tragic love story, and a philosophical meditation it is one of those rare huge books in which one can lose oneself completely. It begins as the story of the Stone, a supernatural entity endowed with consciousness that winds up in the mortal world and must find the path to enlightenment. His fate is inextricably bound with another creature from the Land of Illusion, the Crimson Pearl Flower. The Stone is responsible for its transformation into a fairy girl -- and she vows to repay him with "a debt of tears", willing to suffer for a lifetime in the world of mere mortals. The Stone describes how his story -- The Story of the Stone -- is the record of his journey to enlightenment, and offers the tale as a tool for others to follow his path, as, for example Vanitas does in the first chapter. --www.complete- review.com.
Cao Xueqin, Gao E—The Story of the Stone Volume IV