One of the world’s greatest fantasy novels and a rollicking classic of Chinese literature, in a sparkling new translation and published in a Clothbound Classics edition.
A shape-shifting trickster on a kung-fu quest for eternal life, Monkey King is one of the most memorable superheroes in world literature. High-spirited and omni-talented, he can transform himself into whatever he chooses and turn each of his body’s 84,000 hairs into an army of clones. But his penchant for mischief repeatedly gets him into trouble, and when he raids Heaven’s Orchard of Immortal Peaches, the Buddha pins him beneath a mountain. Five hundred years later, Monkey King is finally given a chance to redeem himself: he must protect the pious monk Tripitaka on his journey in search of precious Buddhist sutras that will bring enlightenment to the Chinese empire.
Joined by two other fallen immortals – Pigsy, a rice-loving flying pig, and Sandy, a depressive river-sand monster – Monkey King does battle with Red Boy, Princess Jade-Face, the Monstress Dowager, and all manner of dragons, ogres, wizards and femmes fatales; navigates the perils of Fire-Cloud Cave, the River of Flowing Sand and the Water-Crystal Palace; and is serially captured, lacquered, sautéed, steamed and liquefied – but always hatches an ingenious plan to get himself and his fellow pilgrims out of their latest jam.
Comparable to The Canterbury Tales or Don Quixote, Monkey King is at once a gripping adventure, a comic satire and a spring of spiritual insight. With this new translation by the award-winning Julia Lovell, the irrepressible rogue hero of one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature has the potential to vault, with his signature cloud-somersault, into the hearts of a whole new generation of readers.