Allegedly a rewriting from a lost German original, Ambrose Bierce's 1892 novel reads as a seamless, almost folktale-like masterpiece.
Thoughts: I actually didn't enjoy this as much as I thought I would. There a great delicacy to the way it's written and to the monk's observation, and some of the descriptions are truly beautiful. It is quite a quiet book and I did like that about it in some ways. But I think I was just expecting it to be slightly more gritty - for lack of a better word. I guess I found it too beautiful and I wanted something more to get my teeth into. I also found the monk incredibly frustrating; his silent pining with no action. In a way, the portrayal of this inner turmoil is a strength of the book, but I don't think I understood the protagonist enough to fully appreciate it. To leave you with an annoying teaser though - the ending is brilliant.