Journey to the West is a classic Chinese epic novel about a Buddhist monk who must travel to the west (which, in China at that time, meant India) to acquire the holy books (sutra). Journey to the West records the trials and tribulations (mostly monsters and demons -- yes, it's a supernatural fantasy novel) that he faces along the way. The story is loosely based on the real-life journey of the monk Xuan Zang.

The most famous character from the book (and its true protagonist), though, is not the monk, but one of the monk's travelling companions, the Monkey King, who is known for his cleverness and his mischeviousness.