zondag 18 september 2016

"The Power and the Glory" by Graham Greene

“The world was in her heart already, like the small spot of decay in a fruit.”

Mexico in the 1930s. The Government are hunting down Catholic priests, in their attempt to suppress the Catholic Church. We follow the misadventures of one of them, only know to us as the 'whisky priest'. This priest isn't saintly by any standards. He's not exactly a likeable fellow - a hopeless drunk, who's living with the guilt of having fathered a child. But despite the constant dangers of being caught and killed, he feels compelled to perform his duties as a priest, to attend the sick and hear people's confessions.

Again, I am totally in awe of Greene's writing. His insight into humanity is enormous and as such, the characters in this novel become larger than life. Christian imagery is woven all through the story. The whisky priest is often attributed Christlike qualities by the villagers he meets on his journey, but one of them turns out to be the 'Judas' that will ultimately betray him. The police lieutenant who's pursuing the priest is the novel's 'Pilate'. As usually, Greene is a master at creating atmosphere - in this case the constant sensation of fear of being hunted, caught and executed.

A stellar novel, which proves why Graham Greene was one of the greatest authors ever.

Title: The Power and the Glory
Author: Graham Greene
Publisher: Vintage, London
Year: 2002 (orig. 1940)
Number of pages: xii + 220 p.
ISBN: 9780099286097

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