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Publisher's Summary

A masterpiece of gothic fiction, The Monk is a cautionary tale of madness, horror, lust, and despair. Father Ambrosio, the most pious and venerated monk in all of Madrid, is held as a paragon of virtue. But after 30 years of study and prayer, evil thoughts begin to permeate his mind.

As two plots cleverly converge, torture, murder, incest, rape, poison, and magic prevail, sustained by an elegance in the writing of the 19-year-old Matthew Lewis.

The book was banned upon its initial publication in 1796, but later caught the attention of Lord Byron and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, with Coleridge naming it "the offspring of no common genius".

Public Domain (P)2017 Naxos AudioBooks

What listeners say about The Monk

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

the Platonic Form of the Gothic novel!.org

The plot moves fast through all the usual yet somehow unexpected architecture, the manors, the convent and monastery, even the catacombs... and the entire cast of good and evil and the nearly good and the seemingly good but really blackest evil characters. The readers' performance was perfect. I can't imagine better. I wanted a great Halloween novel and this was definitely it.

5 people found this helpful

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Awesome story and well read

Great story with adventure, passion, horror, love and hypocrisy, with a flare of the supernatural.

4 people found this helpful

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Not a book that should be overlooked!

Wow. I ran across this book while looking up Gothic novels and alternated between reading my physical copy and listening to this version.
I was not at all disappointed by the characters, plot, or narrators. I don't want to spoil anything for you, so suffice it to say that nothing is extraneous and the ending will be a wild ride. Allow yourself to be swept up in this world and to believe in the characters and you will not be disappointed. I wish I had been half this imaginative when I was 19!!

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Good 👍 audio book

Good passtime. Really nice audio book while cleaning house and doing my week end house cleansing.

2 people found this helpful

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Great Performances But One For the True Goth Fans

Naxos's edition of "The Monk" is the best audio recording you will find on audible, and on the market (if one exists anymore) more generally. It comes with multiple narrators, and narrators of both genders. It also comes with music and poetical songs that accompany the presence of poetry and music in the text. They are quite beautiful and i would definitely recommend this recording to fans of Gothic fiction, or fans who a familiar with and like Lewis's novel. Regarding the narrative itself, i found the eroticism of the story, specifically its representation of the body and desire, to be incredibly captivating, but I also found the plot to be incredibly convoluted, the story and the historical setting to be lacking in realism, complexity, and depth. By and large, the novel came across as a highly dated form of sublimated pornography. In areas and at times i wanted to keep on listening to find out what next, but in a larger way, i was just glad to say I finally finished "The Monk." Alas it is not going to make my best novels list.

1 person found this helpful

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Amazing

No words; just read it. It is a story that questions salvation, religion, and relationships. If those peak you read it.

1 person found this helpful

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Disappointed

Not sure what I was expecting, but by the end I was disappointed and wished I had made a different selection.
I was unable to suspend my disbelief and as such never invested I either the plot or characters.

1 person found this helpful

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Fasten your seatbelt for one helluva ride

How complex and exciting this late 18th-century novel is. Over the years, I've honed my analytical skills by consuming a steady diet of police procedurals, thrillers, and murder mysteries. Usually, I figure out a story's arc right away. Not so with The Monk. As I listened, I thought repeatedly, Boy, I didn't see that coming. But the book offers more.than gothic thrills. It explores themes of piety and superstition and the supposed virtues of monastic life.

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Very good audiobook,

The story is a bit confusing and I needed to read the summary of the chapters while listening… the music parts are amazing.

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Exquisitely Sinister

The Monk is the ideal gothic novel with all the shamefully enthralling details.
To mention a few profane parts there's a bloody nun ghost with a grisly history;
a femme fatale hidden under holy robes to corrupt an virtuous Abbot blinded by his vanity.
I disliked the rape and murder of one of the woefully innocent characters.
However, the rest was enthralling and I sampled several of the other narrators and
wasn't disappointed with my choice with Nicholas Boulton. He really held my interest
considering The Monk was written in the 1700's.
Interestingly, Georgina Sutton actually sang the songs that were in the story and
read one or two parts for the female characters, although, mostly read by Boulton.
Definitely, worth the money or credit.

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  • Just
  • 03-25-21

Wow!

This book is excellent. Truly. Matthew Lewis was just nineteen when he wrote this, what were you doing at nineteen? I was trying to figure out how to open bras with one hand, and deciding on the best excuse to use when calling in sick at my job and not get fired. Silly me; I could have been writing one of the greatest Gothic Novels of all time.
I could explain about the plot, the temptation and corruption of Ambrosio; or the subplot, the unjust fate of Agnes. Rather, I'll avoid giving spoilers and just say that anyone who thinks eighteenth century literature is boring needs to read this.
The narration is perfect. Highly recommend.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kirsty Henderson
  • 11-07-21

Excellent book and excellent performance

I flew through this in around a week. Very impressed with the narration and the performer's ability to take on different characters one after the other. Highly recommend.

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  • stuart prime
  • 07-02-22

wonderful presentation, but 1.25x recommended

I was recommended this book from a recently made acquaintance who is very book oriented and loves gothic literature and thought I would enjoy this too. Suffice to say they weren't wrong. The floral language that exaggerates each scene and narrative is well done and the story is fully engaging throughout.

oddly enough I did find the B plot to be my favourite of the two, however; which is not to fault the A plot, but it certainly had a lot more stakes to it, in my opinion.

when I originally saw that this was a 14hr long Title and that each of the chapters were around an hour a piece, I didn't find that particularly surprising until the Narrator's speed and cadence explained why it was that long. they speak wonderfully and eloquently, but also very slowly. I chose to listen to this at 1.25x speed relatively early and it made it sound far more natural and conversational that originally recorded and also saved nearly 5hrs off the original run Time.

if you do like long winding narratives with beautiful language and enjoy the idea of adding some occasional extra actors for singing and the like into your audio books, along with the odd classical poem here and there, I would highly recommend this; just do it at 1.25x to not let it drag on you too much

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  • Haidyn
  • 06-21-20

amazing narration

Audible exists for this. This is an old book and a long book and although the story is excellent and utterly engrossing, I think if I had only the print version then the experience would have been very different.

The narrator acts the story and does so superbly. There are moments when a character sings a song and an actual song, with music, plays.

As I said, utterly engrossing.

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