The Monkey King of the Tranquil Mountains

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August 19, 2021
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August 26, 2021

“The Monkey King of the Tranquil Mountains: Featuring Artwork by Katsushika Hokusai” by Anthony Santangelo

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A ruthless martial arts master has traveled to the Monkey King’s domain to challenge him to single combat. This cruel teacher and his students soon find out what happens when you challenge a god-king in his own domain! The story progresses with a lot of no-holds-barred combat. Each of the cruel martial artists is taught an important lesson in the process. This book also contains many famous Japanese woodblock prints. Most of these prints are by Katsushika Hokusai. I’m sure you have seen many of his works including: “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” or “Boy Viewing Mount Fuji.”

The Monkey King of the Tranquil Mountains is a story loosely based on the mischievous god known as the “Monkey King” found in Chinese legends. The Monkey King is wise, playful, and a keen martial artist who defeats his opponents in a teasing, taunting manner. If he gets out of hand, the other gods occasionally find a way to trap or imprison him for a while, but he always escapes. Similar to Loki in Scandinavian legends, his exploits may come across as mean-spirited pranks. You might take his side unless he played a mean prank on you, and then you will probably dislike him.
In this story, each of the cruel enemies he faces is taught an important lesson. This book includes accurately portrayed violence and several mild sexual references. Some of the combatants in the story are severely injured or even killed and hence the story is best for a young adult reader. These illustrations add context to the story although the story takes place in China and the woodblock prints depict Japanese scenes. Very suitable for your cocktail table! A great story and lots of questions left un-answered to stimulate the mind. Young adults especially would find themselves intrigued by the action and the moral lessons taught in this book. I’m sure you or the young men in your life would enjoy this!

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