Monkey depicts the adventures of Prince Tripitaka, a young Buddhist priest on a dangerous pilgrimage to India to retrieve sacred scriptures accompanied by his three unruly disciples: the greedy pig creature Pipsy, the river monster Sandy – and Monkey. Hatched from a stone egg and given the secrets of heaven and earth, the irrepressible trickster Monkey can ride on the clouds, become invisible and transform into other shapes – skills that prove very useful when the four travellers come up against the dragons, bandits, demons and evil wizards that threaten to prevent them in their quest. Wu Ch’êng-ên wrote Monkey in the mid-sixteenth century, adding his own distinctive style to an ancient Chinese legend, and in so doing created a dazzling combination of nonsense with profundity, slapstick comedy with spiritual wisdom.
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