A morally complex and mature work from a modern master
IN THIS later novel by Graham Greenefeaturing a new introductionthe author continues to explore moral and theological dilemmas through psychologically astute character studies and exciting drama on an international stage. The title character of Monsignor Quixote is a village priest, elevated to the rank of monsignor through a clerical error, who travels to Madrid accompanied by his best friend, Sancho, the Communist ex-mayor of the village, in Greene's lighthearted variation on Cervantes.
Monsignor Quixote, is not so much a novel as a whimsical meditation on faith and doubt and the varieties of human folly - a meditation with plenty of illustrations. As such it is often charming, bemusing rather than provocative, leisurely rather than energetic, at times even a bit slack. More than any work of Greene's that I have read, it is suffused with nostalgia for the pre-industrial, pre-bourgeois world, a world of face-to-face encounters between man and God, man and man, man and beast. Greene celebrates a world of simple appetites that can be directly satisfied when two contentious friends sit down to cheese, sausage, wine and talk. Monsignor Quixote, mildly invites - rather than compels -the reader to share this humble feast.