Monkey: Folk Novel of China Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-05-20 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 74 user ratings

" I read all six volumes, all one hundred chapters. Everyone was kind of a jerk the whole trip, I"m surprised they didn't turn that Journey right around and go home. " said.

" Half myth, half fairy tale, "Monkey" (or, Journey to the West) is an entertaining tale which also held nostalgia for me, from the TV show during my childhood. Never realised how closely the show depicted the actual text...highly recommend if you like classic tales and fantasy! " said.

" A fun romp through Chinese folklore. Somehow, despite having lived in Asia for the past 13.5 years, I've missed out on all the pop culture incarnations (usually TV shows and movies) based on "Journey to the West", so it was nice to finally learn some background to the occasional references I've encountered. (Just yesterday a friend of mine was telling me how an executive at her company acts just like the Monkey King.) " said.

"This was an interesting read but man, the Master is kind of an idiot who keeps getting himself in unnecessary trouble just so the Monkey King could save him. At least three times, Wukong would be like "don't do this while I'm gone" and literally as soon as he was gone, the Master and company would do exactly what Wukong just said not to do. And then they'd almost die and Wukong would have to rescue them.

I really enjoyed the first half on the origins of the Monkey King before he joined up with the Master though, as he seemed to be more of an active protagonist rather than a passive one. He was also funnier, cleverer, and more entertaining when he wasn't reformed. I guess I just have a thing for villains.
" said.

"I'm glad that I chose to read this book whilst I've been busy with essay writing. It was the perfect book, because it was intriguing enough for me to want to read (and not DNF), but not gripping enough for me to put off studying. It was the perfect time for me to read this because with me being so busy with my essay, it meant that anything I could read for fun would be great. It meant that I really gave this book a chance, and I am glad that I did. This is one of my better liked classics. It sort of reminds me of a video game, where it has loads of little side quests that deviate from the main quest line, and I liked it. It helped me be able to put this book down and study. I also really liked Monkey as a character, not so much in the beginning, but after he accepts his role as Tripitaka's disciple. I didn't really like the other characters, but Monkey is the best character in this book.

In addition to the plot being a bit like a video game, there were times where the pages flew by. It was definitely a first for me for classics. Sometimes it felt like a chore to read this book, but I would say that I enjoyed this book 85% of the time. The ending was anti-climatic though, and a bit of a let down.

This book did remind me of The Story of Hong Gildong in some aspects. Maybe because it is also another Asian classic, written around the same time, and has a similar sort of nonsensical/fantasical feel. So if you liked this book, I would recommend that one if you wanted something similar.

Overall, I am glad to be able to say that I have read this book. I would recommend it if you are looking for classics to read that aren't Western in origin. I can't wait to watch the K-drama, Hwayugi, that is based upon this book, and I hope that it has a relatively happy ending like this book.
" said.

" Ahha, most Asians know this. Watch the film all the time with my grandma when I was a kid. It is a great piece of Chinese literature :D " said.

" This book is funny, witty, and allegorical. Somehow it survived a translation from Chinese to English, and the passing of 400 years (or something like 400 years, I'm not sure exactly when it was written). I'd highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in Chinese culture. " said.

"Because I was going to live and teach in China for a year, I wanted to be informed on classic Chinese literature. I started with "Dream of the Red Chamber" which was difficult to follow, with its 400+ characters, and numerous subplots. Then I began The Journey to the West about the famous Monkey King, Sun Wukong, who is a mischievous trouble-maker until he is trapped under a mountain for 500 years, converts to Buddhism, then begins a quest to protect Xuanzang (on his way to obtain scriptures from India) as an atonement for his past sins. The Monkey King (an actual monkey)has magical powers, including a flying cloud and a magic cudgel, but he is a trouble-maker and is only controlled by a magic band around his head which can be tightened causing him unbearable headaches. In each chapter, the group meets up with new demons to defeat, and soon the plot became repetitive and I forced myself to read on. It is loosely based on some real events, and somewhat represents our own "journey to enlightenment". I'm glad I read it, however, as everywhere I went in China, I saw evidences of this Chinese superhero and his famous deeds. " said.

June 2018 New Book:

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