A Dream of Red Mansions has been adapted many times to keep it popular.
CCTV's 1987 soap opera remake was enormously successful; while a controversial 2010 version cast its actors in a reality TV show.
In 2011, Beijing-based writer Liu Xinwu added a more tragic ending that attempted to capture the spirit of the original, which was left unfinished when the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) author Cao Xueqin died.
Most scholars believe the final 40 chapters to have been written by another Qing Dynasty scholar, Gao E.
Other updates have included comic books, video games and even a theme park.
"There is a feeling of propriety around the story," says Pauline Chen, whose new book, The Red Chamber, is the latest update of the classic novel. "I cannot exaggerate how important this book is in China. You say the names, and everyone knows what kind of person you're talking about."