Monkey

  • by Wu Ch’êng-ên, Arthur Waley - translator
  • Narrated by Kenneth Williams
  • 13 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Considered one of China's great classical novels, Wu Ch'êng-ên's Journey to the West was translated by Arthur Waley in abridged form as Monkey in 1942 and has delighted English readers ever since. It is a riveting adventure story about a priest's quest to obtain holy Buddhist scriptures for the Tang emperor; joining him on this rollicking journey: Sandy, Pigsy, and the mischievous monkey king, Sun Wukong, whose flying cloud and magic cudgel are never far from his infamous deeds. Waley's accessible rendition of Wu Ch'êng-ên's novel has become a classic in its own right: Gods, demons, and disobedient monkey spirits all come alive in this entertaining work.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Chinese Classic, excellent narration

What did you love best about Monkey?

Journey to the West is a Chinese novel published in the 16th century during the Ming dynasty and attributed to Wu Cheng'en. It is one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. Journey to the West has strong roots in Chinese folk religion, Chinese mythology, Taoist and Buddhist philosophy, and the pantheon of Taoist immortals and Buddhist bodhisattvas are still reflective of some Chinese religious attitudes today. Enduringly popular, the tale is at once a comic adventure story, a spring of spiritual insight, and an extended allegory in which the group of pilgrims journeys towards enlightenment by the power and virtue of cooperation.


Who was your favorite character and why?

Monkey. Sun Wukong.


Which character – as performed by Kenneth Williams – was your favorite?

Kenneth has a great narration here.


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- Weng

Intrusive performance

The reader "performs" the story, and it is one of the more intrusive performances I've heard. He seems to be worried about missing a plane because he tears through the material at a pace that is occasionally barely even intelligible. The place of occasional cockney accents in a Chinese novel/folktale utterly escapes me, and I disagree with another review who feels that the "echo", i.e. room resonance, "adds to the story", particularly in the loud, and to me over-dramatized, passages, which are all too frequent. My overall impression is of listening to the soundtrack of an animated cartoon. I've wanted to read this book for a long time, but at this point, I'm simply hoping that I can stick out this reading through to the end.
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- John

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-02-2015
  • Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks