“The answers you get from literature depend on the questions you pose” -Margaret Atwood
"The word is the making of the world." - Wallace Stevens
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Monkey: A Journey to the West
The version of this story that I just finished is retold by David Kherdian. My philosopher brother loaned me this book a couple months ago, and it seemed especially fitting considering the past few months of my life. The original work is a hundred chapters and is thought to have been written by Wu Ch'eng-en in the sixteenth century. This version was in 23 parts, in 209 pages. Full of themes, symbolism, and social satire, it's a historical epic, a folk novel, and a fun adventure/journey story. The story is full of characters that each embody qualities of human nature, some are obvious and some are more subtle. Honestly, I wasn't sure what Sandy was supposed to represent, I had to read some reviews to get some ideas. Monkey's behavior lands him in some tight spots, (and there were times Monkey's incorrigible antics reminded me of certain men I've dated) but he eventually learns the self discipline he needs to obtain enlightenment. The woodblock illustrations in this version were taken from an 1833 Japanese retelling. Whether or not you're a history buff, philosopher, or love adventure stories, you should check this out. Thanks for the loan, bro!