Romance of three kingdoms-Lou Guanzhong   Leave a comment

 

This is another book from my reading list, ‘1001 books to read before you die’. It is extremely long, I read it in an easy translation in 3 volumes. I read 2 chapters a day over most of a year and completed it with little effort.

It is one of the 4 great classical novels of China. It was written during the 14th century and is a historical novel. Set at the end of the Han dynasty and the 3 kingdoms period of Chinese history, starting at 169ad until the reunification of the empire in 280ad.

The story is part historical, part mythical. It romanticises and dramatises the lives of the feudal lords and their retainers who tried to either replace the struggling Han dynasty or restore it.

Thr novel follows hundreds of characters, it focuses mainly of the 3 power blocks pf Wei, Wu and Shu.some of the characters are wonderful, so well drawn they abide in your memory long afterwards. My favourites were Lou Bei, the honourable humble man, who makes a vow in a cherry garden with his 2 best friends to destroy the rebels and spends the rest of his life attempting to fulfil that vow. Also Zhung Liang, the master strategist who comes to aid Lui Bei in his fight, then continues after his master’s death alone.

The book is often hard to follow, as there are so many characters:- a character is often introduced but is dead within 3 pages. However, there are sites online dedicated to heping with just this problem, listing out all the characters to help. I found i managed ok by following just certain characters who appealed to me.

The book is still widely read world-wide despite being written so long ago. I must admit, I really enjoyed it. Why not give it a try!

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