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Graham Greene – Monsignor Quixote

Title: Monsignor Quixote
Author: Graham Greene
Year: 1982

Even though very much is going on in my life at the moment, I still do have some time to do some reading (and listening, in this case). Monsignor Quixote is a book I’ve been wanting to read a long time, even since Alva’s brother spoke highly about it, which actually lead me to pick up Graham Green in the first place. However, I thought (correctly, as it turned out) that it would be a good idea to have read the original novel by Cervantes first. Then, it was time to read Monsignor Quixote.

Graham Greene’s books are very predictable in one way. They are always well-written and contain a special kind of main character (often angst-ridden middle-age males), and Monsignor Quixote is no exception. We follow a priest (who becomes a monsignor), called father Quixote and the former mayor of his home village of Toboso (who is of course named Sancho) on their adventures across Spain. The narrative is criss-crossed with references to Cervantes, both explicitly (they talk a lot about the novel) and implicitly (the two novel share a lot of story elements). The biggest difference might be that of religion, which I didn’t perceive as very important in the original novel, but which is central to this one. Sancho is a communist and often engages in verbal combat with the placid monsignor, often in a quite entertaining way.

Still, I think this book lacks a solid foundation. There are many interesting things here, especially the characters, but the story is not very coherent and not very fascinating. It’s nico to follow the dialogues between the main characters and their journey through spain, but even though Greene makes something enjoyable out of it, I think the story is by far the weakest point. I would like to give more than three snails, but that’s all Monsignor Quixote deserves.

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