0092 | The Monk – Matthew Lewis


Context: Finished this off on the bus from Istanbul to Izmir.

Absolutely loved this from beginning to end. After reading a couple of other Gothic novels that were hard going (i.e. The Castle of Otranto and Vathek), I was really worried that this was going to be 300 pages of turgid melodrama. Far from it.

Lewis has an amazing talent at writing stories which grip you. There’s an overall story here about Ambrosio, the perfect monk and.. I won’t spoil it… what happens to him. But within it there are a ton of other minor stories and episodes which have twists and turns you won’t see coming.

Overall, it creates a page turner with an incredible moral message. Lewis was obviously no fan of religion. Now, I’m a Christian and often I’m labelled as being ‘religious.’ But I’m no fan of religion either. Lewis’ novel shows the extent to which religion is useless to redeem the soul and save it from corruption. Only a personal relationship with Christ can do that.

Throughout the novel, Lewis crafts characters who reveal different aspects of religious bondage and the lies that bind them. The only gripe I’d have with this moral message is that he doesn’t present an alternative answer to the moral mess that we all are.

I have no idea why someone has not yet made a film of this book. It would be a sell-out. So, whatever you have on your TBR shelf at the moment, I’d encourage you to get yourself a copy of this. I haven’t read a book that surprised me this much for a long while.

Scarecely had the Abbey-Bell tolled for five minutes, and already was the Church of the Capuchins thronged with Auditors.


to a heart unacquainted with her, Vice is ever more dangerous when lurking behind the Mask of Virtue

This is a bit of a giveaway so if you want to read it click show

terrible > poor > mediocre > okay > good > very good > excellent > superb

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