Christopher Walker likes to make monkeys cry. On purpose. Thus the title of this lovely online journal. This particular predilection is never fully explained, but it’s enough to justify the title.
A young man from the UK, Walker is a writer and web designer. He began Monkeys Cry in June of last year. Walker is a talented writer with a love of language and good ear for a cleverly turned phrase. When I first started reading through the archives, I thought to myself, “This guy takes himself a little too seriously,” but slowly his dry sense of humor began to show up here and there. Walker, like most writers, is an avid reader and many of his entries are concerned with his latest read. He’s a thoughtful and witty critic.
The first half of Monkeys Cry details Walker’s move to Nagano, Japan to become a teacher. His descriptions of the landscape, the people, and the cultural differences he encounters are delightful to read.
Some of the entries are a little cryptic, but deliberately so, and it doesn’t happen frequently enough to be annoying. Instead it serves as an incentive to read further in the hope that these riddles will be solved. A few of the entries are a bit wordy and at times the author’s flowery language borders on pretentious, but the subjects he chooses to expound on are interesting more often than not.
There are some excellent extras to be found at Monkeys Cry. Several lovely photo series taken by Walker in both Japan and Europe are available. Also included are links to Walker’s original short stories and online novel, The Last People. I haven’t read the novel yet but his short stories are interesting.
Visually, Monkeys Cry is lovely. Walker is a talented web designer. He recently started his own design business, Ubik Studios. His journal is simple but not plain and looks great in both Netscape and Internet Explorer. An appealing patterned background and photos that rotate as you move from page to page add visual punch. He’s a proponent of fully accessible design, and for that I could just kiss him.
Monkeys Cry is a sturdy, engrossing journal. Walker takes the time to craft more than just a laundry list of his daily activities. You can tell he puts a lot of thought into each entry. He takes chances with his writing and isn’t afraid to experiment with style. That, combined with a pleasing original design, makes Monkeys Cry a journal worth returning to.