Monday, September 25, 2006

The Monk

Cold and raining, Saturday was a perfect day to make an effort to finishing reading The Monk. I curled up on my reading chaise and ignored the dust bunnies, the email I am overdue in answering, the computer, and other books. I had a cup of coffee and some cookies. I read and read and read and oh my gosh I couldn't stop. I yelled at the characters, I laughed at them, I held my breath in horror. And I finished the book. The Monk is hardly high literature, but it is lots of fun. There are so many plot twists in this book that I felt like a mouse in a maze trying to chase down the cheese that keeps getting moved around by a mysterious hand in a white sleeve. What intrigued me most about the book was the different views of religion. The Prioress of the Convent of St Clare is a nasty woman who uses religion as a means to power. She has not compassion and all she cares about is whether she looks good to those who have more power. When she is discovered she is held up as an example of the corruption of religion and bad things happen. But up until that point those who didn't know any better continued on in their everyday religious beliefs and regular worship. Taken by surprise the people were especially violent in their revenge. But the surprise was not that the Prioress was corrupt, but that their Prioress was corrupt. Of course the monk himself goes bad. He uses religion as a shield and assumes that as long as he gives the appearance of continuing to be good and pure, that's all that matters. But a few eagle-eyed women see through him. His designs to get around them work in the short-term but in the long-term, he loses big time. He is a perfect example of how not to make a deal with the devil. If you are ever planning on a signing a contract with Lucifer, remember to read the fine print. There is lots of sex in this book. None of it is graphic. It's like kiss, kiss, pant, pet, cut to fireworks or firing cannon, cut back to disheveled bedclothes and "Wow! That was great!" But sometimes not so great because there is also a rape. The monk is the one having all the sex and when he is feeling particularly guilty he likes to blame the women for inciting his passions and leading him on. He even manages to accuse the pure Antonia who doesn't really even know what sex is of flirting with him. Sadly, the ones who end up dead are all women. But this being the book it is, the monk eventually gets what's coming to him. And I squealed with glee. Now that my first RIP book is done, I have moved on to The Looking Glass Wars which I am thus far enjoying immensely. There are lots of twists on the Alice books and some great puns and jokes. In all of my fun RIP reading I have been neglecting poor Proust who is demanding my attentions for the evening. Too many good books to read. I need more eyes.