I have a relationship with 亦舒 Yi Shu (Queen of HK/sino contemporary romance) ~30 years, tbh my enthusiasm has dwindled as the years pass, but I'm a masochistic creature of habit and her completest. YiShu always writes way faster than I can read, I'm barely catching up with her 2008 novel 癡情司/Infatuation Officer. The novel is her homage to Dream of Red Chamber, corresponding characters have homonyms, with YiShu's biases woven in, all transported to modern day HK. It's the best fr YiShu I've read recently even if she's too materialistic for my taste in RN and characterizations too full of it for me to care. Her favorite heroine is here again in her Lin DaiYu: annoying, persnickety, snobbish but all is saved and well because of her exquisitely beautiful face *shrug*. And as always she's critical of the good girl, the Xue BaoCha reincarnate, hinting on her being a scheming fakey. There r a lot of Team Lin out there who hold this opinion on Xue, but I'm not strictly on either team myself. I've read the whole 120 chapters twice only, considering this is my absolute favorite piece of literature, sometimes I'll reread a chapter here and there for the exquisite poems, but never had I regarded it as solely a tearjerking romance btn Lin and Jia. They r only 2 out of the richest collection of characters, mostly ladies for me to explore the world writer Cao lived and breathed in, the constant human battle of growing up conforming to society yet staying true to your vocation, the fight btn naivete and reality, and the toying with Fate. I like how in YiShu's revision, we're given an honest modern take, with the characters recognizable fr original, yet our modern environ participates as a new character meddling with Fate.
This is pushed up my book queue also because of the revisionist musical Awakening/贾宝玉/Jia BaoYu, based on the characters fr Dream of Red Chamber with the story picking up from the last chapter as a 'time traveling/reincarnation' modern take. The musical/play begins with Jia Baoyu long dead and is allowed to reincarnate as the fairy granting the stone (ie Jia himself) his life and the fairy watered and nurtured a twig spiritualised into the form of a lady, following the footstep of the fairy to 'experience' human suffering she's reincarnated as Lin and her life's purpose is to pay back the debt of life/watering by the weeping of her tears. In the play, BaoYu is reborn as the fairy 'godfather' without Baoyu's memory initially, meeting all his beloved 12 beauties, a fresh beginning, it seems. Alas, his memory catches up with him reconnecting with each fancy object he's treasured in his past life hence making him the only one knowledgeable of all their fate. It's by famous HK playwright and producer Edward Lam. I ADORE this genius. PD Lam got the idea Denise Ho is the perfect Jia BaoYu comparable to Brigitte Lin's take after she did a comedic scene with Ariel Lin in his last work Men and Women, War and Peace where they loosely revisited the scene of the Red Chamber OTP Lin DaiYu and Jia BaoYu's very first meeting.