This first volume of Hua’s uplifting English translation of Wu Cheng’en’s classic Chinese epic chronicles the early life of the Taoist superhero Monkey King.
The story’s titular hero is a primate born from a mysterious stone egg on the Mountain of Fruit and Flowers in the Kingdom of Ao Lai. The young ape soon finds residence with a group of monkeys. After winning the monkeys’ respect, the ape is elected king and leads his subjects to a paradisiacal new home: the Cave of the Watery Veil. Here he rules peacefully over his adoring troop for many years, until one day he yearns for spiritual knowledge as well as immortality. He sets out on a solitary quest in the world of men; making his way through great cities, he learns human speech but is disheartened by humanity’s lust for wealth and fame. Finally, he finds his way to the Cave of the Three Stars and the Slanting Moon—the home of an immortal master and his disciples. Master Zu is at first bemused by the ape’s hopes of spiritual enlightenment, but he eventually finds that the ape’s will and perception are unlike those of any other disciple he’s ever known. The ape is given the new spiritual name of Sun Wu Kong and learns great powers at the knee of his master before being sent back to his kingdom. There he discovers that an evil demon has taken control; to defeat him, he must match the demon’s powers. Hua gives this illustrated translation of an age-old story a contemporary edge and urgent pace, and, overall, he delivers a laconic, jovial tale. “Nothing is hard for those who remain strong of heart and undeterred,” observes Monkey King’s master, and that philosophy lies at the heart of this simple yet inspirational story.
An engaging translation which will delight adults and children alike.