I kind of regret buying this book I thought it looked like a fun little read when I saw it in the mythology section, so I picked it up several years ago.Why regret it when I enjoyed it I could have enjoyed MORE of it You see, I found out much later that Monkey is an abridged version of Journey to the West This is one of the four classic Chinese novels I ve read and generally loved the other three Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Outlaws of the Marsh, and Dream of Red Mansions Now I ve read an abridged version of the last one, when I would have much preferred to read the full unabridged text I ll still have to do that at some point.Still, I can recommend this book pretty enthusiastically to some people at there Reading the other three books mentioned above, I undoubtedly tried to sell you on them directly or indirectly Perhaps you were even a bit interested However, I recognize that the other three, thousand page monsters can be pretty intimidating, particularly since they feature so many characters with names that are difficult to pronounce and keep straight if you are not particularly familiar with Chinese names Monkey is only about three hundred pages, and style wise is a much easier read as well There are fewer important characters, and they haveeasily pronounced remembered names Monkey and Pigsy being two of the main four characters This story is also quite a bitof a folk tale than the others, so it remains noticeably simpler That said, it retains the very classic style that I haven t seen anywhere besides these Chinese novels The charmingly formal well that people address one another even the taunts before battles are formalized in a very unique way This would be a great book to use as your trial run into classic Chinese literature, and if you enjoy the general style of it, you will enjoy the style of the longer anddifficult books as well. The last thing I d expect a hundreds of years old slice of classic Chinese literature to be is fun, but that s exactly what MONKEY is It s great fun It s a delight to read, a thoroughly modern action adventure storyline that embodies the classic journey narrative and packs it to the brim with all manner of outlandish incident and constant humour.The only difficulty with MONKEY comes from trying to remember all of the various deities and sub sections that Heaven is made up of Almost every character in the story is divine in some way, and that s overwhelming at first, but theyou read, theit all makes sense Monkey himself is a great protagonist he starts off as completely annoying, but the reader gradually warms to him as the narrative progresses Monkey never changes, but the reader gets to know and like him instead The rest of the characters, Tripitaka, Pigsy, and Sandy, are built to entertain.Arthur Waley s translation is a joy to read, and probably the most readable version of a 16th century story that you ll ever find It s also surprisingly modern in places, complete with back stabbing, betrayal and low brow humour The story is tumultuous and fantastic and yes, epic in the true sense of the word the only problem is that this is an abridged version of a much, much longer original, and thus it makes you long to read the full length version. Its funny, I read about 50 pages of this then lost the thread and started struggling with who was who, to such an extent that I put it down for a few months.After this break I then went back about 20 pages and started again This time it stuck, I sailed through the rest of the book, and really enjoyed it I think if I hadn t of struggled it might have been 5 stars, but all in all I think 4 is a fair mark. Monkey is Arthur Waley s delightful rendition of Wu Cheng en s Journey to the West , one of China s four great classical novels This abridged version provides English readers with an experience that would otherwise have been inaccessible to those of us unable to read the original Chinese The novel offers a pleasant mixture of action, adventure and comedy It examines a number of meaningful themes, including three great Eastern philosophies Buddhism, Tao and Confucianism and satirical commentary on their failed practice by people in an overly bureaucratic society who miss the forest for the trees A must read. I m embarrassed to admit that I learned only recently about Sun Wukong, a very famous monkey character all over Asia That is to say, billions of people on earth are quite familiar with Sun Wukong, and I didn t know he existed until about a year ago The planet is becoming smaller and smaller, but there are still some East West divides In any case, the monkey of the title is Sun Wukong This story, which is so well known is Asia, is usually known as The Journey to the West without monkey in the title The story, credited to Wu Cheng en, dates to the 16th century This version was translated by Arthur Waley, a British scholar, in the mid 20th century I m so glad to have read this tale It s hard to describe my one sentence summary would be The Ramayana meets Don Quixote What does that mean It reminds me of Don Quixote in that it was written hundreds of years ago in a land far away, yet parts of it are laugh out loud funny to this 21st century American It reminds me of the Ramayana in that it has an epic scope characters include the Buddha, Kwon Yin, Lao Tzu, etc , and a powerful monkey is in the mix trying to do the right thing to serve his master In the Ramayana, it is monkey vanara Hanuman who serves Ram here, Sun Wukong is primarily serving the Buddha Unlike Hanuman, who is quite earnest, Sun Wukong is a scamp trickster and muchmorally ambiguous than dear Hanuman The journey to the west in question is a trip from China to India to fetch some scriptures.Why four stars instead of five There are times when the writing feels stilted to me I m guessing that Waley was trying to translate literally as literally as one can translate from Chinese to English, that is , and so the prose at times feels dense.I m very glad to have read this I m very glad that I have now joined the billions of people who know this whimsical tale. Monkey is a magical tale of fantasy and adventure in the Tang Dynasty 618 907 of imperial China At around 350 pages, this translation is actually a short version of the 2,000 some page Journey to the West, which was written in the 16th century It is a very important book throughout Asia, and considered one of the four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature A Japanese friend of mine assures me that 98% of Asians know the story of Journey to the West whether through the book directly or its numerous spin offs.Although Monkey is an abridgement, it doesn t read like one It really feels like a full story Most of what was omitted consists of individual adventures along the pilgrims journey to India to fetch Buddhist scriptures Since these mini adventures are largely self contained, you don t notice their absence when reading, although the ending does come off as somewhat abrupt.I ve been wanting to read some Wuxia for a long time due to my personal interest in martial arts Wuxia is basically Chinese martial fiction, and it is hard to find anything in this genre with less than 2,000 pages I specifically chose this abridged version because I wanted to get a soft start rather than dive right into a 2,000 page brick only to give up Though the translation is not perfect, the style is sometimes archaic and the ebook version contains some digital transfer errors, Monkey still fulfilled my expectations And I expect this won t be my last wuxia novel Despite the drawbacks, I m giving this five starts because I know I m going to be thinking about this story for a long time.Note While it definitely helps to first have some basic knowledge of Buddhist philosophy and terms i.e., the difference between Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Arhats and the major figures Guatama Sakyamuni, Kwan Yin, Amitabha and the Taoist Lao Tzu , you could easily get by without any such prior knowledge and probably learn a good deal about Chinese beliefs simply by reading this book Interesting trivia Dragon Ball is based on Journey to the West The Monkey King is called Sun Wukong in Chinese and Son Goku in Japanese Hence the name of Goku in Dragon Ball, who is based on the Monkey King. |Kindle ♂ 西遊記 [Xī yóu jì] ♨ Uno Dei Quattro Grandi Romanzi Classici Cinesi, Lo Scimmiotto, Fu Scritto Dal Letterato Wu Ch Ng N Nel Secolo Sedicesimo, Ma Il Materiale Della Storia Un Immenso Ciclo Di Leggende Che Si Era Accumulato Per Centinaia Di Anni Intorno Al Viaggio Verso L Occidente Cio Verso L India Del Monaco Hs An Tsang, Poi Detto Tripitaka, Per Raccogliervi Scritture Sacre Buddiste E Introdurle In Cina La Vicenda Comincia Con La Nascita Di Una Scimmia Da Un Uovo Di Pietra Lo Scimmiotto, Che Presto Sar Eletto Re Delle Scimmie Essere Prodigioso E Beffardo, Dalla Inesauribile Vitalit , Scimmiotto Adopera Astuzie E Artifici Magici Per Diventare Immortale E, Poi, Per Portare Lo Scompiglio E La Guerra Nel Cosmo, Subissando I Celesti Con Le Sue Sempre Eccessive Trovate Ed Una Delizia Seguire Il Turbamento Provocato Nei Cieli Cinesi, Affollatissimi Di Esseri Divini, Da Questo Indiavolato Trickster Infine, Nella Seconda Parte, Scimmiotto, Assieme A Due Altri Compagni Porcellino E Sabbioso, Che Simboleggiano Due Potenze Dell Essere Umano Si Riscatter Dalle Sue Malefatte Aiutando Tripitaka Nel Suo Arduo Viaggio Tutto Il Libro Un Moto Inarrestabile Di Fatti E Sorprese, Un Grande Romanzo Di Avventure Che Ne Contiene In S Tanti Altri Aprendosi La Strada Nella Selva Di Queste Vicende Il Lettore Si Render Conto A Poco A Poco Che Lo Scimmiotto Anche Un Allegoria, Un Viaggio Mistico, Una Satira Sociale, E Vi Scoprir Un Immenso Repertorio Di Pratiche E Tradizioni Religiose Il Cielo E I Suoi Abitanti Sembrano Qui Essere Un Travestimento Della Terra E Degli Uomini, La Terra Una Continuazione Del Cielo Sfrontatezza E Devozione, Familiarit Con La Natura E I Suoi Prodigi, Sapienza Psicologica, Diffusa Ilarit Convivono Tranquillamente In Questo Mondo Fondato Sulla Magia, In Queste Vicende Che Sembrano Fatte Per Essere Raccontate A Dei Bambini E Insieme Sono Cariche Di Sottintesi, Sicch Giustamente Ebbe A Dire Di Questo Romanzo Il Suo Congeniale Traduttore, Il Grande Sinologo Arthur Waley Lo Scimmiotto Unico Nel Suo Complesso Di Bellezza E Assurdit , Di Profondit E Insensatezza I read this in Japanese, so I cannot comment about the quality of the English translation Part adventure journey, part human comedy disguised as fantasy Very cynical to government bureaucracy For those who are wondering about the complete translation of this classic There have been multiple versions of this, because authorship in the old China is not what you assume People added their own fancy as they hand copied the book s , and it s hardly possible to distinguish which part is authentic Again, I cannot comment about this specific version, but it just might be a good idea to start with this rather than the longer version. I m not sure about this translation, wasn t a fan, however, I really enjoyed the story It s a fun book with plenty of humor, adventure, and fantasy Most people probably know the story already without realizing it because the story of the Monkey King has been retold numerous times, most notably Dragon Ball Z takes several ideas from this story Besides the Monkey, I also enjoyed Pigsy and Sandy, s this has a unique cast of colorful characters.I should also note this is an abridged version I m not sure I ll ever find or want to read the full version As much as I like the story, if I d ever read the full version it d have to be a really good translation. i m very sorry that i didn t like thismany people seem to think this is a good translation, which disappoints me because i was quite willing to lay the blame at my inability to get into this book on arthur waley though it may be that they are lauding the book for its accuracy in translation rather than in its artistry i m not sure why i didn t enjoy it as much as i didn t i love folklore, and monsters and fighting and adventures but despite all that, this book s take on those things kept making me want to pass out every time i read it it s abridged but it still felt really long, and inconsistent, and repetitive the only thing that really interested me was when the priest tripitaka lied to monkey with ease even though he was very pious about not eating meat, or doing other things that were contrary to what he had learned in buddhist monastery it may be that i just don t get it, i don t know maybe i am just too ensconced in the traditions of western literature to really appreciate it but it just fell flat.