I am not Catholic. Graham Greene is.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at Monsieur Quixote, a book which does not rely on the reader having much familiarity with Don Quixote, but at the same time it doesn’t hurt.
This is a book filled with conversation, much like the great Quixote, however the conversations are less funny and more concerned with faith or the lack of it, Franco’s regime, and the problem of being literary descendants of two of the greatest and most beloved characters in literature.
Books are not about whether or not your enjoy them, or at least, that aspect of a book forms only a small part of its overall qualities. That said, for me, I had the very strange sensation of finding the book very easy to read and turn the pages, without actually gaining much from it. It wasn’t funny enough to echo Don Quixote, and I’m not Catholic enough to gain much from the religious musings of both major characters. Greene writes well, but everyone writes well, so there needs to be more, for me, than that.
I am reminded of Greene’s work of two distinct parts – the melancholy part and the Catholic part. It’s obvious which this fits into, and while I am not really all that melancholy these days, I certainly prefer his other works. The novel doesn’t do enough with its literary baggage, and too much with the fact that Spain is a very Catholic nation.
So, an odd one. Read it if you are Catholic, I suppose. And don’t if you just like Don Quixote.
The Books, Read page contains a list of all of the books I have read this year.