Wednesday, September 15, 1999

The Laughing Sutra

by Mark Salzman

An orphan, aided by a mysterious, probably supernatural man who may be the Monkey King himself, sneaks out of China to find an ancient text for his ailing teacher.  This is a funny book, a deft blend of history, fable, philosophy and adventure.  Salzman uses his piercing observations on the East-West cultural gap to show the follies and strengths of both countries, creating a highly enjoyable and quite exciting modern folk tale.  There are a few weaknesses, a few hints at later potentialities that are never taken up, but as a whole, great stuff.

four stars