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Novel adapted from Chinese fiction triggers controversy
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A modern Japanese novel adapted from A Dream of the Red Mansion, one of the great classics of Chinese literature has triggered controversy among Chinese readers.

The Chinese version of the Japanese book Murders of the Red Mansion, written by Japanese writer Taku Ashibe, was published in China early this year.

"There are lots of adaption versions of the book but I have never thought that it could be a detective fiction," Shi Xiaowei, a Chinese reader said in his blog.

As one of the greatest masterpieces of Chinese fiction, the story of A Dream of the Red Mansion, written by Cao Xueqin (1715-1763), focuses on the tragic love between the hero and heroine, while offering a panoramic genre painting of life in the Chinese empire of the mid 18th century.

The Japanese novel borrows all its characters from the Chinese work but creates its own story line of serial murders taking place in the house of the Jia family.

It was applauded by many detective fiction fans in China.

"I have to say that the author wrote a story in a very good rhythm with a precise and attractive story line," said Skymonkey, a netizen in a post at www.douban.com, a leading forum for book lovers.

"And I can tell from the story that he made careful research on the original Chinese novel. Some details and scenarios it borrows are smooth," the post said, adding that it can be regarded as a unique way to pay respect to the Chinese novel.

Lily, in her personal blog, admired the writer's courage in taking on a challenging task. "Generally speaking, the adaption looks good," she writes. "Although the story line is completely different, it successfully uses the original novel as its background. Those who did not read the Chinese novel before can still understand it."

But, she writes, "Since this one is pop fiction, the writing skill and language are far away from the original."

The ancient Chinese novel, made up of 120 chapters with 732 named characters, is a grand collection of Chinese poetry, art, philosophy, ethic and even cuisine.

Loyal fans of the Chinese fiction may not be comfortable with such an adaption.

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