The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Mesmerized. Spell-bound. Alas, I am at a loss for words. This book has captivated me wholly, and I am left in utter amazement until the last page. I commend the brilliancy of Lewis' work, it is without a doubt one of the best pieces of Gothic literature I have ever read!
Ambrosio is a well-esteemed Monk in Madrid, a man highly celebrated, honoured and believed to be a holy man among the masses. Relishing in the love of the people and his belief that in all his thirty years on earth there has been no man holier than thou art, it escapes Ambrosio that pride can be one of the many vices to a man. It is not until he meets a mild-mannered monk, Rosario, that his heart begins to change and things turn for the worst. This plot line is masterfully unpredictable, so many twists and turns that I had trouble anticipating the next course of action for Ambrosio. His lust is unfounded- his pride tickled by constant flattery, and once his stubborn determination sets him on a new course of action all hell breaks loose. I eagerly await to read this novel again in the coming years! It will forever be an inspiration to me, and an ideal piece of literature that is highly symbolic of Gothic horror. I will refrain from leaving any spoilers in this review, simply because it is too enjoyable to expose such mesmerizing plot-twists. In its stead, I will leave a short passage that really left a mark for me:
He had no resource to comfort his distress. Religion could not inspire him with fortitude: if he read the Book of mortality which were put into his hands, he saw nothing but the enormity of his offences; If he attempted to pray, he recalled that he deserved not heaven's protection, and believed his crimes so monstrous as to baffle even God's infinite goodness. For every other Sinner he thought there might be hope, but for him there could be none.
- Matthew Lewis, The Monk
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