Posted in Short Stories

Ken Liu: The Litigation Master and the Monkey King

You can’t ask for more than that, said the Monkey King. And he bowed before Tian Haoli, not the way you kowtowed to an Emperor, but the way you would bow to a great hero.

In a sense, Ken Liu’s short story “The Litigation Master and the Monkey King” is a fun story. Tian Haoli is well-known in his town for his litigation skills and manages to get his clients off the hook when they are accused of wrong-doing by the government. He runs into trouble, though, as he attempts to free a client over a banned book.

In spite of the trouble Tian gets himself into, Liu manages to put humor into the story with Tian’s relationship to a demon of sorts known as the Monkey King. This demon is both irritating and loveable and encourages Tian to do the right thing in the end in spite of what that might cost Tian. The quotation above indicates that Tian earned the respect of the Monkey King and the respect of the Monkey King is better than the respect of the government.

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