The Journey to the West, Volume 1 (Journey to the West)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Journey to the West, Volume 1 (The Journey to the West #1)

4.34 of 5 stars 4.34  ·  rating details  ·  348 ratings  ·  34 reviews
First published in 1952, The Journey to the West, volume I, comprises the first twenty-five chapters of Anthony C. Yu's four-volume translation of Hsi-yu Chi, one of the most beloved classics of Chinese literature. The fantastic tale recounts the sixteen-year pilgrimage of the monk Hsüan-tsang (596-664), one of China's most illustrious religious heroes, who journeyed to In...more
Paperback, 544 pages
Published February 15th 1980 by University Of Chicago Press (first published 1570)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa SeeThe Good Earth by Pearl S. BuckThe Joy Luck Club by Amy TanShanghai Girls by Lisa SeeThe Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan
Best Novels That Take Place in China
71st out of 241 books — 680 voters
The Hunt for Xanadu by Elyse SalpeterSiddhartha by Hermann HesseThe First Rule of Ten by Gay HendricksBangkok 8 by John BurdettBangkok Tattoo by John Burdett
Buddhist Fiction
9th out of 35 books — 32 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,084)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
I really enjoy, as most do, Part One, the origin of Sun Wukong and his hell-raising days before he is finally subdued by Buddha. After that, I am often annoyed, as some are, by how weepy yet obstinate Xuanzang is (especially because he is supposed to be a highly cultivated monk), how underdeveloped the characters Sha Wujing and Yulong Santaiz are, how repetitive the 81 ordeals can be, and the author's repeated use of deus ex machina. Nevertheless, it is a fascinating and often hilarious adventur...more
Laszlo Hopp
I read the four-volume revised Kindle edition of this book, translated by Anthony C. Yu. The story is the fictive rendition of a journey made by a 7th century Buddhist monk, Xuanzang, during the Tang Dynasty. He undertook his famous, nearly two decade-long pilgrimage in order to study Buddhism and acquire original Sanskrit texts of the religion from India. When he returned to China, he translated many of the original texts to Chinese, thus leaving a decisive legacy on Chinese Buddhism. Some of t...more
This has to be one of the most boring books I have ever read. I mean, the beginning of the book, back when Sun Wukong was free to do whatever he pleased was pretty acceptable. But in the moment he is given the task of babysitting Sanzang is where the book starts to get irritating. I understand that the book is supposed to be epic and full of metaphors, but imagine the case when someone asks Wukong something and instead of reading the sentence "and Wukong explained everything that happened to him...more
Junius Fulcher
Jul 04, 2008 Junius Fulcher rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
By far, the most exciting translation of the classic tale, Journey to the West that I have read. The story unfolds in a beautiful, fluid manner through Mr. Yu's high linguistic skills. I've re-read this four volume set several times over as it speaks to me (and is crafted) on many levels.

The story is loosely based on the fourteen year pilgrimage of Ven. Hsaun T'sang, a Buddhist monastic/scripture pilgrim who traversed the Silk road from the Tang court in Chang-an, through the Kyber Pass into In...more
An eye-opening, fascinating and often funny story that displays the culture of the time and teaches a little about Buddhism along the way. However, towards the end of the first volume the travels begin to become quite episodic.

The episodic nature of the chapters is not a great problem, but the fact that more often than not the author resorts to the same deus ex machina way of sorting out the pilgrims' problems could quickly become tiresome in volume 2.

Despite that, this gets 4 stars because I'm...more
I'm actually reading the one with the red cover, translated by Anthony C. Yu, and the translation is amazing. I really love how he actually does his best to translate the epic poetry into something that rhymes and has a tempo to it that is like the traditional verse structure.

The annotations are excellent.

Of course, the story itself it is amazingly fun. Most of this book is about the Monkey King, his crazy adventure that trapped him for hundreds of years, and then the amazing story of how Tripit...more
J.M. Slowik
Mar 22, 2013 J.M. Slowik rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Really, surprisingly good. The humor holds up really well even after centuries-- which reminded me of Moliere's The Miser, and says something about the strength of the original translation. In pairing the story with poetry and with religious / mythological elements, it seemed like The Iliad: just as graphically violent, but much funnier.

This is a classic, deservedly, and should be read more widely in the west. If you're going to tour world literature, this would be an excellent first stop. Howev...more
Robert Sheppard

"The Journey to the West" (西遊記, Xi You Ji) is perhaps the most beloved book in China. It is once a great action, travel and adventure story, a mythic and phantasmagorical Odyssey and Quest, an epic of Buddhist pilgrimage and devotion, a comic classic, a tale of brother...more
"Małpi bunt" to pierwsza z dwóch części skrótu "Wędrówki na Zachód", klasycznej chińskiej powieści drogi. Należy ją oceniać dwojako - i jako skrót, i ze względu na przedstawioną fabułę. W dużej mierze brakuje poetyckości oryginału (tłumacz raczej nie przekładał wierszy lub robił z nich prozę) a i czasem skróty są dziwnie robione. Np. mowa o paskudnie wyglądającym potworze, którego wygląd nie jest opisany, a potem nagle jest mowa o wieprzu.

W książce przeplatają się 3 filozofie: taoistyczna, konf...more
Marian Allen
I have to admit, I'm reading this book for Monkey, not for any other reason, and the part I liked best was the part before he got "redeemed". Not that he's exactly saintly afterwards.... The Monkey King is a classic trickster, who steals whatever he can get away with and faces any challenge with relish. You always want to have him on your side.

I discovered the Handsome Monkey King through Laurence Yep's Dragon War novels, then through my youngest daughter's readings in Chinese literature. Now I'...more
Kloud Gothi
Grrr this book really frustrated me. Loved the characters, themes, and the story itself, but I found it so tedious and long-winded to read. I am ashamed to say that I skipped a whole section of the book just to get to the end, and I hate not finishing a book; that's how tedious it was.
Michiel Roelants
Introduction to a great story that introduces us to the Monkey king. The story is well-told, contains a lot of humor and instills some great, Chinese philosophy like Daoïsm.
Journey to the West is one of my personal favorite Chinese tales. I used to watch the many many tv adaptations of the Monk and his 3 disciples when I was younger. I finally had the time to sit down a read it recently and it has been exactly what I expected it to be. It is told in different "acts" and although there is a cohesive timeline, each event that occurs to the traveling group can stand on its own. There really isn't much to say about it. Due to the fact that it is a translation of an anc...more
This is the best full translation of the 16th C Chinese classic. The Beijing Press version is full of typo's and weird translations. Yu's is well researched and worth reading if you have the time and interest (it is four volumes). If you don't have the time the Waley translation Monkey is a good abridgment. The other adaptation Monkey: A Journey to the West is the best quick read and great for younger readers but it isn't a direct translation.
Classic Chinese literature at its best, and in superlative translation. Great for anyone who wants a good adventure/redemption myth/story, or, for that matter, anyone who thinks they've already read the literary classics. Now that really good, really footnoted translations of Chinese classics are readily available and intelligible, the whole notion of "canon" has exploded! Thank you for your work, Mr. Anthony Yu!
I give this book 3.5 stars. Mr. Yu's translation is excellent and faithful to the original text, I am sure, but this style of storytelling isn't really my favorite. And though I appreciate its cultural and historical significance, overall this story is a slow read. I'm unsure whether or not I'll pick up the next book in the series.
I grew up with the story of Sun Wu Kong. I have read so many different versions. My rating for this book is purely based on the beautiful job that Anthony Yu did in translating it. He did not lose the original sentiment while making it actually make sense in English. It took me a whole year to finish it. It was totally worth it.
An episodic journey, simply written with intermittent vivid poetry. Very visual. Character development isn't the focus, but it's there. While reading, it can help you understand where episodic storytelling started and how it has affected story telling to this day
Well, this is one of four, and the story is just getting started. So I can't really comment that fully on what's going down, other than to say that pretty much everything that happens in this story has a poem to prove it.
Clássico da literatura chinesa. Bem diferente a forma como é escrito mas tem uma história legal.

Para os que gostam de dragon ball o goku foi baseado no personagem principal desse livro, o deus macaco.
Pedro Martinez
This book compiles in 575 pages the first 31 chapters of one of the four Chinese classics of literature, "Journey to the West". A suggestive fantasy ride to fetch Buddhist scriptures I will continue soon.
Sep 22, 2012 Nim added it
Loses a lot in translation.
Seems almost as dated as Homer's Iliad.

It's a Buddhist version of The Wizard of Oz meets Lord of the Rings so what's not to love?
Monkey fucking rules.
Oh man, the first third of the book is so classic. That is one clever monkey. It is beloved in China for a reason - do yourself a favor and give it a go.
Ray Heaton
Very enjoyable...the version I have isn't this copy, rather the Library of Classic Chinese Novels which is in both Chinese and English
I'm re-reading it, now that I have the complete set. It is a fantastic adventure story.
One of the best and most engrossing series I've ever read. Imaginative and fantastic.
Apr 09, 2007 Adam marked it as to-read
three vol eh? i'm in trouble, we'll see how this one goes. when i get to it...
Nov 03, 2008 Sue marked it as to-read
Have been meeting to get at this for years - finally started.
Read in 221 taught by Francis Cogan
a monk and a monkey!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 36 37 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Outlaws of the Marsh, Vol. 1-4
  • Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Vol. 1
  • Jin Ping Mei (the Golden Lotus)
  • The Story of the Stone, Vol. 1: The Golden Days
  • Four Major Plays of Chikamatsu
  • Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio
  • The Tales Of Mother Goose
  • Li Po and Tu Fu: Poems
  • The Real Story of Ah-Q and Other Tales of China: The Complete Fiction of Lu Xun
  • Panchatantra
  • The Tale of Genji
  • The Book and the Sword
  • The Selected Poems of Tu Fu
  • The Complete Tales of Uncle Remus
  • The Ring of the Nibelung
  • The Coyote Road: Trickster Tales
Wu Cheng'en (simplified Chinese: 吴承恩; traditional Chinese: 吳承恩; pinyin: Wú Chéng'ēn, ca. 1505–1580 or 1500–1582, courtesy name Ruzhong (汝忠), pen name "Sheyang Hermit," was a Chinese novelist and poet of the Ming Dynasty, best known for being the probable author of one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature, Journey to the West, also called Monkey.
More about Wu Cheng'en...
Monkey: The Journey to the West Journey to the West (4-Volume Boxed Set) The Journey to the West, Volume 2 Journey to the West, Volume 4 Journey to the West, Volume 3

Share This Book