WildChina Book Club:
Monkey King: Journey to the West, with Julia Lovell (Event #76)
For our May book club, we’ll be reading one of China’s four great literary classics, Monkey King: Journey to the West, with Julia Lovell
“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 five hundred years later for a chance to redeem himself: He is to protect the pious monk Tripitaka on his fourteen-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 eighty-one 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.”
Speaker for Monkey King: Journey to the West
- Mei ZhangFounder and CEO of WildChina
Mei Zhang is the founder and CEO of WildChina. Under her leadership, WildChina flourished from a small Hutong operation into an award-winning business. Mei’s own expertise has led her to win a number of personal awards, including Travel and Leisure’s A-List of Top Travel Advisors, Condé Nast Traveler’s Top Travel Specialist, and Wendy Perrin’s #WOW List of Travel Experts. Mei is an Aspen Institute China Fellow and currently serves as a member of Harvard Business School’s Alumni Board.