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Publisher's Summary

A Chinese Lord of the Rings and one of the all-time great fantasy novels - which Neil Gaiman has said "is in the DNA of 1.5 billion people" - now in a thrilling new translation

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 amasses dazzling weapons and skills on his journey to immortality: a gold-hooped staff that can grow as tall as the sky and shrink to the size of a needle; the ability to travel 108,000 miles in a single somersault. A master of subterfuge, he can transform himself into whomever or 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 and gorges himself on the elixirs of the gods, the Buddha pins him beneath a mountain, freeing him only 500 years later for a chance to redeem himself: He is to protect the pious monk Tripitaka on his 14-year journey to India in search of precious Buddhist sutras that will bring enlightenment to the Chinese empire.

Joined by two other fallen immortals - Pigsy, a rice-loving pig able to fly with its ears, and Sandy, a depressive man-eating river-sand monster - Monkey King undergoes 81 trials, doing battle with Red Boy, Princess Jade-Face, the Monstress Dowager, and all manner of dragons, ogres, wizards, and femmes fatales, navigating the perils of Fire-Cloud Cave, the River of Flowing Sand, the Water-Crystal Palace, and Casserole Mountain, and being serially captured, lacquered, sautéed, steamed, and liquefied, but always hatching an ingenious plan to get himself and his fellow pilgrims out of their latest jam.

Monkey King: Journey to the West is at once a rollicking adventure, a comic satire of Chinese bureaucracy, and a spring of spiritual insight. With this new translation, 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 and unerring sense for fun, into the hearts of millions of Americans.

©2021 Julia Lovell, translation (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“Jam-packed with outrageous danger and outlandish transformations...Lovell does an admirable job condensing the original text...while capturing the essence of Chinese fantastical storytelling and parody. Readers who enjoy nutty adventures and nonsensical plots will get a kick out of this madcap fable.” (Publishers Weekly)

“A monument of world literature, Monkey King is also one of the funniest, most subversive satires ever written. There is no trickster quite as tricky, no companion more resourceful or more ridiculously entertaining, no hero more true than the monkey king. If you’ve not read Journey to the West, prepare yourself for the adventure of a lifetime and know that like Monkey himself, you are about to be transformed. No book can truly capture the stupendous, absurd glory of life, but Monkey King comes pretty damn close. Even if you have read Monkey King, Julia Lovell’s magnificent new translation becomes its own cloud somersault, its own gold-hooped staff.” (Junot Díaz) 

“This new edition should more than satisfy anyone interested in reading not only a highly praised classic of Chinese literature, but also one of the most influential fantasy narratives in the world.” (Booklist

Monkey King is one of the great epics of our world. I spent a good part of my childhood enthralled with the adventures of the OG mischief maker, Sun WukongWhat a delight that this exhilarating translation of the timeless classic will entertain generations to come.” (Marie Lu, number-one New York Times best-selling author of Legend, The Young Elites, and Skyhunter)

What listeners say about Monkey King

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I was unable to continue listening to the particular reader, and chose to read the book in ebook “print “

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Great peak into Chinese culture and mythology

I thoroughly enjoyed this audio book!

The characters are well voiced and written. My favorites were the Jade Emperor and Monkey.

This story gives a good glimpse at foundational work for other stories and a slight insight into Chinese culture.

The obvious correlation I saw was the connection between Monkey and Goku from Dragon Ball! a little dumb, way too strong for his own good, and always looking to test his strength in a good fight... not to mention getting into trouble about food!!!

There are a plethora of philosophical lessons in the story but they are not presented as morals, just genuine parts of character development and I wish more writers would lean that direction.

If you are a fan of kung fu movies or anime (Japanese or Chinese), you'd be a dummy to not pick this up.