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on 20 August 2012
After a slow start, I really got into this book and found that I couldn't put it down. There are lots of characters, who's stories are all intertwined. What I loved, was that this didn't become confusing. It was really easy to follow. This story has some shocking twists and I spent most of the time gasping and quickly flicking on to see what happens next. Definitely a book to read!
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on 12 September 2014
This book is only ONE THIRD of the book - be careful!!!! It starts with chapter 8!!! This is VOLUME 3 of a 3 volume set - http://www.gutenberg.org/files/601/601-h/601-h.htm It starts with these lines which are from the third volume and it says 'chapter 8'
The crickets sing, and Man's o'er-laboured sense
Repairs itself by rest: Our Tarquin thus
Did softly press the rushes, ere He wakened
The chastity He wounded--Cytherea,
How bravely thou becom'st thy bed! Fresh Lily!
And whiter than the sheets!
Cymbeline.

This is specifically referring to the HARDBACK edition by Bibliolife. I see this 'review' shows up on all copies of the book. As I work for a library and it's over 30 days nobody will refund/replace or allow us to return it.
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I was happy to find The Monk here as it now means I won't have to replace any more paperback copies of this fantastic tale. I must admit that I haven't yet met anyone who has not loved this after reading it. Written in under three months Matthew Lewis thereafter came to be called 'Monk' Lewis, due to the popularity of this story.

As the title would suggest, this book centres around a monk, Ambrosio, and those who surround him. On the surface, Ambrosio is revered by the people of Madrid as almost saintlike - but is he? Holier than thou he may appear, but beneath the surface there is a man who is vain and thinks he is better than others. Camp, crazy, with cross dressing, lust, obsession, pride, vanity, and some humour along with the horror this is a tale that grabs you from the beginning. This is a book that you could write books on if you were to do a full analysis of it, but why bother? Lets face it, you are looking for something that is fun and readable, and don't want to be bored with deeper meanings (unless you are studying it), so just sit back read, enjoy and be enthralled by this book.
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on 3 May 2013
The Monk is fantastic. I've wanted to read it for a while but I never had a chance! It's brilliant, the various plots are weaved together masterfully, and there are plenty of moments of surprise and intrigue. It's one of those books that is so genius that you realise that people in the past weren't as ignorant as we're often lead to believe! A true masterpiece. Hard to believe it was written by a nineteen year old in the space of a few weeks!
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on 5 April 2013
I have somehow managed to completely miss this novel until a few weeks ago when it popped up in my GoodReads recommendations. It immediately caught my attention for being a gothic novel which was a massive scandal when it was first published in 1791.

Having now finished the book I can see why, it treads a fine line of religious debauchery with a monk going off the rails in just about every way possible. Written by an MP of about 20yrs old I guess they didn't do much in parliament back then either as his imagination has run riot with this book!

There are a few places where it's over-explained and could do with a good edit but all-in-all this is a fascinating/enjoyable/shocking page-turner, that even has you fighting yourself trying not to feel sympathy for the monk!

A well-written, classic gothic novel. I'm just sorry it's taken me 33 years to discover it!
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on 18 April 2013
A dark and twisted yet sufficiently gripping book, filled with gothic horror, religious struggles and fated romance.

The ending was arguably slightly rushed.
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on 4 July 2014
The Monk is one of the classics of the Gothic mystery genre, and it’s easy to see why. Set in Spain and with a strong presence of the Inquisition always in the background, all the elements are present - dark sinister places, cloaked figures, superstition, drama and evil by the ton. But it is much more than that. It is a story about how easily we can become influenced and swayed by the cult of personality and celebrity, by a honeyed voice or by a handsome face, while beneath the surface all might well be unwholesome and wicked. Appearances can be deceptive, and as the truth gradually emerges we are taken on a tour of many of the worst vices known to man. Written 200 years ago, it has a strangely modern feel, with touches of humour and a understanding of the human psyche that seems well ahead of its time. The plot, it has to be said, becomes very convoluted, and I admit to becoming confused on more than one occasion by the numerous characters – many of which seemed very similar to one another. Having said that, it was an engrossing read.
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on 27 March 2014
the monk caused a scandal in its day and you can still see why, as all the gothic elements are present then given a surprisingly modern twist - no spoilers here! Just pick up and enjoy.
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on 2 February 2013
One of the classic gothic novels. Reasonably easy to read if stylistically cluncky. Lots of narratives told to other people mean that lots of twists and back story come tohgether in a way that today would be seen as "bad writing". That said it was a significant work of its time and it is still reasonably good entertainment. There was a french film adaptation made in 2011 which is not nearly as good as the book.
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on 16 November 2014
This book chucks the kitchen sink at its readers - ghost stories, romances, murderous robbers, depraved acts behind convent walls, the Spanish Inquisition, and Satan himself exposing the hypocrisy of the outwardly-pious. As a result it's a bit all over the place, but shows some flashes of insight, especially when it comes to the psychology of temptation and desire. And it's never less than good fun.
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