Monday, July 30, 2018

Melmoth the Wanderer: Review

This is going to be awfully short--especially in comparison to the book I read. You would think that I would have more to say about about a book that is 659 pages long. But really, I don't have the words. Charles Robert Maturin used them all up in the early 19th Century. Good old Charles has a lot in common with Tristram Shandy--he loves to tell stories within stories with stories. Besides that, he's long-winded and repetitive. He really wanted his readers to know how corrupt and down-right bad the so-called "holy men" of the Catholic Church were and he was willing to tell them so in story after story and hit them over the head with the idea until they cried for mercy.

With so much anti-Catholic propaganda coming at me as well all the stories within stories, I had a really difficult time concentrating on what's supposed to be the main plot--that John Melmoth's ancestor made a pact with the devil and takes a couple of hundred years to try and snare some innocent soul to take his place. SPOILER--he fails. Just think if Maturin had put it that directly, I wouldn't have wasted all that time wading through a bunch of stories about life in a monastery, which quite frankly was repetitive and boring and didn't really add much to the basic plot line. I mean, seriously, I think I snoozed through the part where it's explained what the conniving of the Abbott to put the Spanish dude into a monastery against his will had to do with Melmoth's ancestor....All I got out of it was that apparently none of the "religious" fellows who took up the monastic life really believed anything and were miserable and only wanted to recruit new monks so someone else could be miserable too. Wheee!

So....this deadly dull classic story made it onto the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list somehow. I get to check that one off the list. And it counts for the Back to the Classics Challenge. And it counts for the Dread & Read Challenge. AND I've read it and don't ever need to read it again. Not a very coherent or comprehensive review....but then I didn't think Maturin was all that coherent himself. So, it's fitting really.  , I guess.

[Finished 7/22/18]


Kate said...

Well done for getting through this one! Doesn't sound the best.

Bev Hankins said...

Thanks, Kate. The synopsis on the back of the book really got me interested--that's why I originally picked it up. But it was SO not my thing.

J.G. said...

Wow, I'm impressed that you persevered! But that's what the challenge is all about, so extra good for you! I hope you're really enjoying the feeling of putting this one behind you.!

Bev Hankins said...

J.G.: thanks. I am definitely glad this one is done and off the TBR pile (and out of the house--it went back to the library used book store from whence it came).