web site hit counter The Power and the Glory - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

The Power and the Glory

Availability: Ready to download

In a poor, remote section of Southern Mexico, the paramilitary group, The Red Shirts have taken control. God has been outlawed, and the priests have been systematically hunted down and killed. Now, the last priest is on the run. Too human for heroism, too humble for martyrdom, the nameless little worldly “whiskey priest” is nevertheless impelled toward his squalid Calvary In a poor, remote section of Southern Mexico, the paramilitary group, The Red Shirts have taken control. God has been outlawed, and the priests have been systematically hunted down and killed. Now, the last priest is on the run. Too human for heroism, too humble for martyrdom, the nameless little worldly “whiskey priest” is nevertheless impelled toward his squalid Calvary as much by his own compassion for humanity as by the efforts of his pursuers.   In his introduction, John Updike calls The Power and the Glory, “Graham Greene’s masterpiece…. The energy and grandeur of his finest novel derive from the will toward compassion, an ideal communism even more Christian than Communist.”


Compare

In a poor, remote section of Southern Mexico, the paramilitary group, The Red Shirts have taken control. God has been outlawed, and the priests have been systematically hunted down and killed. Now, the last priest is on the run. Too human for heroism, too humble for martyrdom, the nameless little worldly “whiskey priest” is nevertheless impelled toward his squalid Calvary In a poor, remote section of Southern Mexico, the paramilitary group, The Red Shirts have taken control. God has been outlawed, and the priests have been systematically hunted down and killed. Now, the last priest is on the run. Too human for heroism, too humble for martyrdom, the nameless little worldly “whiskey priest” is nevertheless impelled toward his squalid Calvary as much by his own compassion for humanity as by the efforts of his pursuers.   In his introduction, John Updike calls The Power and the Glory, “Graham Greene’s masterpiece…. The energy and grandeur of his finest novel derive from the will toward compassion, an ideal communism even more Christian than Communist.”

30 review for The Power and the Glory

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jim Fonseca

    Graham Greene is known as a “Catholic novelist” even though he objected to that description. I mention that because this book is one of his four novels, which, according to Wiki, source of all wisdom, “are the gold standard of the Catholic novel.” The other three are Brighton Rock, The Heart of the Matter, and The End of the Affair. Like many other Greene novels, this one is set in a down-and-out environment in a Third World country. (Third World at least at the time Greene visited: Mexico and Af Graham Greene is known as a “Catholic novelist” even though he objected to that description. I mention that because this book is one of his four novels, which, according to Wiki, source of all wisdom, “are the gold standard of the Catholic novel.” The other three are Brighton Rock, The Heart of the Matter, and The End of the Affair. Like many other Greene novels, this one is set in a down-and-out environment in a Third World country. (Third World at least at the time Greene visited: Mexico and Africa in the 1930’s and 1940’s; Haiti, Cuba and the Congo in the 1950’s.) Greene’s travels around the world (including a stint as a British spy in WW II) informed many of his novels. This one, The Power and the Glory, was based on his travels in Mexico in 1938; The Comedians, Haiti; A Burnt Out Case, the Congo; Our Man in Havana, Cuba, and The Heart of the Matter, Sierra Leone. Greene hit his literary stride in writing set in these destitute countries marked by starvation, disease, political tyranny, graft and corruption. In this novel the focus is on anti-clericalism in Mexico in the 1930’s. Greene’s publisher specifically paid for his trip to Mexico for this purpose in 1938. Anti-clericalism has a long history in Mexico related to the Revolutions in 1860 and 1910 and the Constitution of 1917 which seized church land, outlawed monastic orders, banned public worship outside of churches, took away political rights from clergy and prohibited primary education by churches. By the 1930’s the persecution of clergy had reached new heights, varying in each Mexican state depending upon the political inclinations of the governors. In Tabasco state, on the southernmost curve of the Gulf of Mexico, persecution was the worst and it’s likely the geographical setting of the story. We’re in a place of subsistence farming and banana plantations, days from any city by walking, mule or water. Churches here were closed and many destroyed. Priests were forbidden to wear garb or even conduct masses and many were forced to marry. The persecution escalated to the point where priests were hunted down by police and executed without trial. On to the story: Our main character is a priest on the run because there is a reward on his head. He's not dressed as a priest but his diction and decorum as an educated man give him away. Just about everyone he meets assumes he’s a priest on the run. But he’s a “whiskey priest,” addicted to his wine. He has also fathered an illegitimate child. At one point he meets his 7-year old daughter for the first time. Everywhere he goes crowds of peasants beseech him to perform a mass, conduct weddings and baptisms. Depending on his level of fear, sometimes, in despair, he ignores them and moves on; other times he conducts the sacraments. Sometimes he calculates how much he will charge for baptisms and how many bottles of wine the receipts will buy him. Because of his drinking, his illicit liaison, and his fear of death by firing squad, he feels unworthy of his role. He’s human. We have other characters of course. A dentist, cut off by WW II from contact with his family in Europe, despairs of ever seeing them again. A precocious 13-year old runs the family plantation for her incapacitated parents. She hides the priest for a time. We have good cops/bad cops in pursuit of the priest; some want to see him killed and some try to help him. The priest can’t trust anyone --- an offer of help may be a trap to get the reward on his head --- a huge sum in this backwards, destitute world. A few quotes: He walked slowly; happiness drained out of him more quickly and completely than out of an unhappy man: an unhappy man is always prepared. [A man talking to his wife] It’s not such a bad life…But he could feel her stiffen: the word “life” was taboo: it reminded you of death. The woman began to cry – dryly, without tears, the trapped noise of something wanting to be released… Of course, a classic. Photo from runyon.lib.utexas.edu Anti-clerical logo from newworldencyclopedia.org

  2. 4 out of 5

    Fabian

    You can never go wrong with this guy—most definitely dude's on my Top Ten of All-Time favorite novelists. You cannot ask for crisper prose: the dialogue is practically in audio, the descriptions themselves cause impressive bouts with synesthesia. I cannot think of a single writer that is without flaw—the closest to that super-man would be Graham Greene. That being said, this is my least favorite novel of his thus far; and it is interesting to note that this one is widely hailed as his masterpiece You can never go wrong with this guy—most definitely dude's on my Top Ten of All-Time favorite novelists. You cannot ask for crisper prose: the dialogue is practically in audio, the descriptions themselves cause impressive bouts with synesthesia. I cannot think of a single writer that is without flaw—the closest to that super-man would be Graham Greene. That being said, this is my least favorite novel of his thus far; and it is interesting to note that this one is widely hailed as his masterpiece. No sir, that title goes to “The Quiet American", a thunderbolt of supreme genius. But I even preferred “Brighton Rock”, too. Here, like in that one, Greene creates his own orb around a very fickle, very risque topic: religion (and, most specifically [not, of course, my favorite at all:] Catholicism). It is a very hard thesis to substantiate (that the search for God transcends the church) and yet the different facets in the tests and shortcomings of a very human, very counter-effective “whisky” priest proves just how false the whole enterprise is… and yet religion, it seems, is a must. I really did not side with any particular point of view, just enjoyed the ride—and it’s sort of like Cather’s “Death Comes to the Archbishop,” only better (an accomplishment without a doubt). It is ambitious and harsh, beautiful and devastating--Mexico is there, & yet not. It is cinematic and simultaneously personal. I will read ALL his others, for here's a novel to discover, & after some time naturally, to rediscover.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Megha

    This little gem turned out to be quite a surprise. It is indeed powerful and it is glorious. Greene's writing seems really simple and is easy to read, and yet is so full of meaning. I am still soaking it all in. As the lead character, the 'whiskey-priest', moves from one place to another, Greene takes us along on a journey taut with suspense and tension. However, it is really his moral journey which is the most captivating. We not only witness the priest's struggle to escape, we also get to look This little gem turned out to be quite a surprise. It is indeed powerful and it is glorious. Greene's writing seems really simple and is easy to read, and yet is so full of meaning. I am still soaking it all in. As the lead character, the 'whiskey-priest', moves from one place to another, Greene takes us along on a journey taut with suspense and tension. However, it is really his moral journey which is the most captivating. We not only witness the priest's struggle to escape, we also get to look into his tormented soul and his ambivalence. He is constantly torn between following what his religious faith has taught him while his worldly sense seems to make more practical sense. He feels guilty for his sins, but he loves the fruit of his sin. He almost wishes that he be caught so that he could be rid of the fear and the misery. But doesn't his faith teach him that it is his duty to save his soul? He has sinned and is immoral, but he is also full of compassion and love for fellow human beings. A question that haunts the priest and the reader throughout is whether he will find redemption and if his soul will achieve salvation? Or do immoralities and sins always overshadow a man's goodness? Greene makes it so easy for one to understand his characters. The priest, with his virtues and his flaws, feels like a very real person. It is not at all difficult to imagine such a person walking some part of this earth in flesh. While we read the thoughts and the convictions of the priest, the lieutenant serves as the opposing voice. Both have some ideals which I do not completely agree with, but I also don't consider either of them to be totally wrong. I also liked that the priest and the lieutenant, though rivals, are able to see the good in each other and have mutual respect. Through these two characters, Greene brings forth the impermanence of beliefs through which one defines what is "right". Life can always take such turns that one's firmly believed ideals cease to make sense anymore. As the journey proceeds and we encounter various places and characters, Greene also reveals the misery, poverty, disease and utter desolation that has engulfed these wastelands. He captures the feeling of the place and the moment with just the right words. Through his words, you can almost feel the oppressive heat or the thundering rainstorm or the tranquility and freshness of an early morning. Different characters that we meet give a sense of how bleak and despairing their life is. There is a person who cannot shirk off the idea of death, there is another with a desperate cheerfulness who has to constantly remind himself that he is happy. There are several instances where we see the difference between the world-view of adults and children. Adults who have known better times and have only those memories to draw any happiness from. While the only world their children have seen is this world of misery. These children haven't known what happiness, hope or faith means. They have matured before they have aged. All the playfulness and innocence of childhood has been drained away. Another frequently encountered theme is that of abandonment. The words 'abandoned', 'abandonment' crop up very often..be it a man who has abandoned his family, a child abandoned by her father, a man deserted in the forest. However, what Greene is really hinting at is the abandonment of this land and its people. They are cut-off from the rest of the world to rot in suffering, while the world and civilization outside progress. The future holds no promises, all hope and faith has vanished. Life has ceased to have any meaning, God himself has ceased to exist. Death is an everyday affair for them and life is just a duty to be performed from day-to-day without ever knowing its joy and charm. She said: "I would rather die." "Oh," he said, "of course. That goes without saying. But we have to go on living." "She was one of those garrulous women who show to strangers the photographs of their children: but all she had to show was coffin." For the most part the novel is bleak and grim, but it speaks of hope as well. "It is one of the strange discoveries a man makes that life, however you lead it, contains moments of exhilaration: there are always comparisons which can be made with worse times:even in danger and misery the pendulum swings." Greene also reminds us of how peace and beauty can exist in the smallest of moments, which people often fail to notice until it has been left far behind. "It was nearly like peace, but not quite. For peace you needed human company-his alone-ness was like a threat of things to come. Suddenly he remembered - for no apparent reason - a day of rain at the American seminary, the glass windows of the library steamed over with central heating, the tall shelves of sedate books, and a young man - a stranger from Tucson - drawing his initials on the pane with his finger - that was peace. He looked at it from outside: he couldn't believe he would ever again get in." There is so much more I have to say about this novel, I could never cover it all in a review. Let me just say it is so very human.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Greene had an unerring eye for the sanctity of human weakness and the ominousness of human strength. I am re-reading this book now and am amazed all over again by how Greene makes such poetry out of such mundane horror. The hunted and haunted "whiskey priest" is a compellingly tragic figure, and the idealistic fanatic policeman prefigures not only Cormac McCarthy in Blood Meridien but also so much modern wartime folly. "It became necessary to destroy the town to save it," is a line that seems to Greene had an unerring eye for the sanctity of human weakness and the ominousness of human strength. I am re-reading this book now and am amazed all over again by how Greene makes such poetry out of such mundane horror. The hunted and haunted "whiskey priest" is a compellingly tragic figure, and the idealistic fanatic policeman prefigures not only Cormac McCarthy in Blood Meridien but also so much modern wartime folly. "It became necessary to destroy the town to save it," is a line that seems to come straight from this tale. There is a certain inevitability to this story as it unfolds. Nothing is hidden, there are no surprises, the man you think will turn in the priest does, and the priest's fate is what he always assumed it would be. Still the sheer humanity of the tale makes it a compelling page-turner. While you know what will happen, you desperately don't want it to. But the priest himself has no hope, and therein lies both his tragedy and his salvation.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    589. The Labyrinthine Ways = The Power and The Glory, Graham Greene The Power and the Glory (1940) is a novel by British author Graham Greene. The title is an allusion to the doxology often recited at the end of the Lord's Prayer: "For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever, amen." It was initially published in the United States under the title The Labyrinthine Ways. عنوانها: جلال و قدرت؛ قدرت و جلال؛ قدرت و افتخار؛ مسیحای دیگر یهودای دیگر؛ نویسنده: گراهام گرین (وزارت فره 589. The Labyrinthine Ways = The Power and The Glory, Graham Greene The Power and the Glory (1940) is a novel by British author Graham Greene. The title is an allusion to the doxology often recited at the end of the Lord's Prayer: "For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever, amen." It was initially published in the United States under the title The Labyrinthine Ways. عنوانها: جلال و قدرت؛ قدرت و جلال؛ قدرت و افتخار؛ مسیحای دیگر یهودای دیگر؛ نویسنده: گراهام گرین (وزارت فرهنگ و ارشاد اسلامی) ادبیات؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز هشتم ماه دسامبر سال 1996 میلادی عنوان: قدرت و افتخار؛ نویسنده: گراهام گرین؛ مترجم: عبدالله آزادیان؛ تهران، امیرکبیر، 1342؛ در 312 ص؛ چاپ دیگر: 1393؛ شابک: 9789640016664؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان انگلیسی - سده 20 م عنوان: جلال و قدرت؛ نویسنده: گراهام گرین؛ مترجم: هرمز عبداللهی؛ تهران، طرح نو، 1373؛ در 325 ص؛ چاپ سوم 1387؛ عنوان: مسیحای دیگر یهودای دیگر (قدرت و جلال)؛ نویسنده: گراهام گرین؛ مترجم: هرمز عبداللهی؛ تهران، چشمه، 1376؛ در 325 ص؛ جلال و قدرت را انتشارات طرح نو منتشر کرده، همین کتاب با نام «قدرت و جلال» در انتشارات چشمه چاپ شده است ص 183 : وقتی انسان بتواند چهره زن یا مردی را به‌ دقت در نظر مجسم کند، همیشه می‌تواند به او احساس ترحم نیز داشته باشد، این صفتی است که با تصویر خدا قرین و همراه است. وقتی انسان خطهای گوشه چشمها و شکل دهان کسی را ببیند، و ببیند که موهایش چگونه رشد می‌کنند، دیگر محال است بتواند به او نفرت داشته باشد. نفرت تنها از کمبود و درماندگی نیروی تخیل سرچشمه می‌گیرد. امید غریزه‌ ای است که تنها ذهن استدلالی و معقول بشر می‌تواند آن را از بین ببرد ص 198 : غریزه مانند حس وظیفه است – آدم آن را براحتی با وفاداری اشتباه می‌کند پایان نقل. گراهام گرین این کتاب را پس از سفر به مکزیک، در سال 1938 میلادی، نوشتند، و در آن به وضعیت اسفبار مردمان کشور مکزیک در زمان اجرای قوانین ضدمذهبی دولت آن کشور پرداختند. این اثر که هم در موضوع، و هم در محتوی به دفاع از ایمان مسیحی می‌پردازد، در زمره ی شاهکارهای ادبیات مذهبی غرب، قرار می‌گیرد، هر چند که تشبیه کشیش میخواره، و متزلزل داستان، به حضرت مسیح، موجب تقبیح این اثر، از سوی کلیسای کاتولیک شده است. ا. شربیانی

  6. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    This is the first Greene I have read in years and it is a powerful novel. It is set in Mexico and Greene has spent some time there in research. The novel is about a priest; a whisky priest in a province of Mexico where the Catholic Church is banned and priests are shot. The unnamed protagonist is a bad priest and a drunkard who has also fathered a child. He is also a coward. The title is taken from the end of The Lord's Prayer and there is religious imagery all over the place. The priest rides a This is the first Greene I have read in years and it is a powerful novel. It is set in Mexico and Greene has spent some time there in research. The novel is about a priest; a whisky priest in a province of Mexico where the Catholic Church is banned and priests are shot. The unnamed protagonist is a bad priest and a drunkard who has also fathered a child. He is also a coward. The title is taken from the end of The Lord's Prayer and there is religious imagery all over the place. The priest rides a donkey to his inevitable capture (having been given a chance to escape), the peasant who betrays him is Judas. Most of the other characters can be seen to represent someone in the gospel narratives; Maria, padre Jose, Tench etc. The priest is a very imperfect Christ and the Lieutenant a very implacable reperesentative of authority who is ultimately moved by the priest. The Lieutenant plays a much larger role than Pilate does in the gospels, but there is a "What is truth" Moment. The book represents Greene's own struggles with faith and the Church. There are also themes relating to abandonment, desolation, hope and the bleakness of everyday life for the poor. Greene's descriptive powers are very powerful and you can feel the stifling heat. This is a thought provoking piece and managed to offend Catholics and atheists in equal measure; quite a neat trick. I've known a few whisky priests in my time and remember one particular church and rectory which was locally christened St Glenfiddich's because of the drinking habits of the incumbent. He didn't seem to do a great deal apart from drink, but when the alcohol finally got him everyone turned out for the funeral and he was rather fondly remembered. The whisky priest here doesn't do a great deal apart from move around and perform any religious duties he was forced to by the locals. There is something here perhaps about being rather than doing. While I don't share Greene's faith it is an interesting and powerful novel with more hidden layers than I first perhaps realised

  7. 4 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    Here we have a novel which takes faith at face value which for an atheist reader is a bit of a thwack round the fizzog with a wet towel. This novel is all about the confession and all about the Mass. (And a little bit about the baptism too.) And the reality behind these rituals is that if they aren’t done properly (by a priest) YOU yes YOU could end up going to HELL because you might then die in a state of mortal sin, i.e. outside the reach of the grace of God, these are the rules, don’t look at Here we have a novel which takes faith at face value which for an atheist reader is a bit of a thwack round the fizzog with a wet towel. This novel is all about the confession and all about the Mass. (And a little bit about the baptism too.) And the reality behind these rituals is that if they aren’t done properly (by a priest) YOU yes YOU could end up going to HELL because you might then die in a state of mortal sin, i.e. outside the reach of the grace of God, these are the rules, don’t look at me like that, it’s tough I know, because Hell means infinite pain for all eternity and God will be okay with that because He created Hell and created these complicated rules so you better get a priest over right NOW since you’re looking a bit green and your eyes are puffy. You could keel over at any minute. So babies will get roasted in Hell if they don’t get baptized? So when the priest blesses the bread it then TRANSUBSTANTIATES into the actual body of Christ which is God although it still looks like bread, so that when the priest puts it in the mouths of his faithful flock he is putting God into their mouths literally? (this is what the priest in this novel says). The first thing I think when confronted with these concepts, which millions have believed and still believe, is that I’m glad I don’t believe this kind of stuff because it seems to be very bad for your mental health which Graham Greene amply demonstrates. And it’s this exact kind of stuff which so outraged the guys who made the Mexican revolution in the 1920s that they set about crushing and destroying the Catholic Church, to the extent of hunting down and shooting priests. And I was completely unaware of that! So when I was reading Graham Greene’s novel and I found it was about a priest being hunted down by the military not because he’s a criminal but because he’s a priest I was like….. wow. Heavy. And this really happened? Yes, it really did, in Mexico, between 1926 and 1934. Two things about this particular priest – he’s not got a name. Now why do authors do this – have their protagonist being all nameless? It just makes it a bit portentous. That wasn’t good. The other thing is that he’s a whisky priest, the definition of which is that he’s a bad one, an alcoholic, he’s fathered a child, he’s not very pious. He spends many pages desperately trying to get his hands on a bottle of brandy or two. The whole novel is about him being hunted up mountain and down canyon often on the back of a mule (just like Jesus!) by the also-nameless lieutenant. He’s now the last priest in the state, all others having been shot or they’ve vamoosed or they’ve been forced to marry a woman (no! – fate worse than death to a priest!) and so been de-fanged. But our Father Nameless has ducked and dived for eight years but now he’s getting to the end of his tether. As Martha and the Vandellas sang in 1964, there’s nowhere to run to, baby, nowhere to hide. No village will give him shelter, every man could be his Judas Iscariot. So why didn’t this very bad priest just take a slow boat to China or give up and get married? After all, this isn’t some brave wanna-be martyr for the Holy Roman Apostolic Catholic Church. He’s a sniveling whining self-loathing reptile most of the time. But he himself provides a great explanation. When he realized he was the last priest in his state, he was filled with euphoria. Now at last there were no fellow priests to sneer at his drunken lacksadaisical ways. He could make his own rules up! He could be exactly the kind of priest he damn well wanted to be and no one to give him a hard time any more! I think that the novel wants in the end to show that martyrdom for the true faith can happen even in the squalor of this unpleasant man’s life, and that the power and the glory may sometimes be located in the filth and the vileness. Something along those lines, I wasn’t too sure of the moral of it all. What it meant to me was something quite different This was is a surprisingly savage nasty grim miseryfest, a real feel-bad book for Catholics, atheists and Mexicans alike.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Fergus

    THE BLESSED WILL NOT CARE WHAT ANGLE THEY ARE REGARDED FROM, HAVING NOTHING TO HIDE... WHEN I TRY TO IMAGINE A FAULTLESS LIFE, OR THE LIFE TO COME, WHAT I HEAR IS THE MURMUR OF UNDERGROUND STREAMS, WHAT I SEE IS A LIMESTONE LANDSCAPE. W.H. Auden, In Praise of Limestone. The Whiskey Priest is a Limestone Priest. Scrape him abrasively, and he chips and crumbles. But he is quite beyond caring about appearances. Me too. Tonight, during a long talk with an old friend about the various total moral disasters THE BLESSED WILL NOT CARE WHAT ANGLE THEY ARE REGARDED FROM, HAVING NOTHING TO HIDE... WHEN I TRY TO IMAGINE A FAULTLESS LIFE, OR THE LIFE TO COME, WHAT I HEAR IS THE MURMUR OF UNDERGROUND STREAMS, WHAT I SEE IS A LIMESTONE LANDSCAPE. W.H. Auden, In Praise of Limestone. The Whiskey Priest is a Limestone Priest. Scrape him abrasively, and he chips and crumbles. But he is quite beyond caring about appearances. Me too. Tonight, during a long talk with an old friend about the various total moral disasters that privilege and depravity have left us with in old age, I let all my reactions to her long tale of woe drop. Totally. I, like Greene, am a Christian but have grown weary of shoring up my dogma against such sorrowful devastation as my friend feels. Instead, I just listened in absolute poverty of spirit. As Greene must have sorrowfully held his tongue during his trip to the horrendously repressive Mexico of the thirties. And as my own conflicts with challenges to my faith dropped off, I then felt the totalising warmth of peace envelop my inner spirit. The Whiskey Priest no longer judges, either. Forget about our modern glitzy cinematic treatment of the Christeros - the failed Whiskey Priest is the Real Rôle Model for our broken humanity. For he represents sacred compassion’s Last Stand. The inconveniently embarrassing martyrdom. Now, the Christeros were Christian vigilantes among the Mexican faithful during the bloody early twentieth century governmental crackdown on clerics who confessed the Catholic Faith. And the little, mercilessly-hounded Whiskey Priest also represents the last stand of all faithful humanitarians in this current stark, uncaring global crackdown on the too-human poor: a blunt, crass gentrification. A gentrification that seeks to make of this paltry fallen world an oasis for the well-to-do. And these poor lost souls? Let them eat cake! Yes, Graham Greene back in the 1930’s was describing a scenario that is still very much a part of our lives. And we “bleeding heart liberals” are the New Christeros. We must never let our resolve falter - and we must aim carefully when we fire off our bitter aperçus! For the Rich just don’t care. Their armour is thick. But they cringe at our attacks. And we won’t quit... So, for their sake I loved ere I go hence And the high cause of love’s magnificence We carry on, carrying the Cross of the Christeros.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Perry

    Classic Parable, 1930s Mexico, Paramount Importance Today "A tragic situation exists precisely when virtue does not triumph but when it is still felt that man is nobler than the forces which destroy him." George Orwell, "Shooting an Elephant," 1950. Greene was driven to write this sympathetic novel about persecution of Mexican priests after visiting the Mexican province of Tabasco in 1938 at the height of the Mexican anti-clerical purge of Marxist revolutionaries. Upon returning home, Greene calle Classic Parable, 1930s Mexico, Paramount Importance Today "A tragic situation exists precisely when virtue does not triumph but when it is still felt that man is nobler than the forces which destroy him." George Orwell, "Shooting an Elephant," 1950. Greene was driven to write this sympathetic novel about persecution of Mexican priests after visiting the Mexican province of Tabasco in 1938 at the height of the Mexican anti-clerical purge of Marxist revolutionaries. Upon returning home, Greene called it the "fiercest persecution of religion anywhere since the reign of Elizabeth." [Note: obviously this was before the Nazis' slaughter of millions of Jews during WW II.] The Power and the Glory is Greene's nearly flawless parable of dualities in society and within us: good vs. evil, spirituality vs. materialism, love vs. hate, and the freedom of the individual versus the intrusive and paternalistic state. Greene based the novel on the life of a real-life whiskey priest who "existed for ten years in the forest and swamps, venturing out only at night." It is structured as a game of cat and mouse between the priest and an unnamed Communist police lieutenant as part of an attempt to eradicate the country of Catholicism. The lieutenant despises the church and is obsessed with capturing the priest to execute him for the greater good of the state. The communists' attempts backfired, turning the priest into a martyr in the eyes of the people. To me, the novel's focus on hope and redemption and the lessons of Greene's realistic parable make it a classic. The whiskey priest is a significantly flawed man, a bad alcoholic, who has been scandalized by fathering a child in a night of weakness with a peasant woman. He is acutely aware of his defects and failures as both a man and a priest. Although a man of the cloth with faith in a hereafter, he is terrified of pain and of death, and thus acknowledges his doubt. His knowledge of self elevates him to the level of heroic in the novel, as he is redeemed by his conviction that he is responsible for his sins and the suffering he has brought on others, especially on his illegitimate daughter. He especially feels a sharp pain when seeing her--she's around 10--because she seems to have lost her innocence way too soon and thus he sees her as having scant hope for pleasure and happiness in the world. His love for her and sense of responsibility for her plight, her ruined purity crush the man: "The world was in her heart already like the small spot of decay in a fruit." So, through the sin of her conception and the love he has for her, he finds salvation, even in his darkest hour as the chase by the lieutenant and police force gets tighter and closer. Though dark and tense, this novel is so hopeful in Greene's vision and truth that even a most flawed man can achieve redemption if he can humbly accept his fallibility and responsibility for his sins and the harm he has caused others. Indeed, such a man can gain back respect and even be admired to the point of being heroic. In today's world where our leaders spew spastic shit daily in 140 characters under a tweety bird, full of noxious narcissism, always passing the buck and refusing to admit even the possibility of their human fallibility or a sense of responsibility when things go wrong, this parable seems a particularly important read for young adults and a must-read reminder to the rest of us of our greater selves.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    The Power and the Glory is the sort of title to inspire readers to great deeds, pushing beyond the bounds of normal reading capabilities to turn pages at superhuman speed! But alas no. And why not? Afterall, the premise is promising... A cynical, whiskey priest sneaks about the poor, rural lands of southern Mexico, evading capture for the treasonous action of being a priest. The question is whether he's on the lam to preach the word of god or to save his own neck. I haven't read much Graham Greene The Power and the Glory is the sort of title to inspire readers to great deeds, pushing beyond the bounds of normal reading capabilities to turn pages at superhuman speed! But alas no. And why not? Afterall, the premise is promising... A cynical, whiskey priest sneaks about the poor, rural lands of southern Mexico, evading capture for the treasonous action of being a priest. The question is whether he's on the lam to preach the word of god or to save his own neck. I haven't read much Graham Greene, but what I have read makes me think Greene could turn a phrase and slap a good sentence together right up there with some of the best of them. The problem seems to be his plots. They don't punch you like you expect. I always seemed to be waiting for something more out of this book and it never came, and this isn't the first time it's happened with a Greene book. Straight out of college I made a pledge to read through the works of respected authors. I powered through Kafka and then Camus. Both were exciting or at least interesting. In hindsight, I think I read them both at the perfect time in my life. Next up was Greene. He wrote over two dozen novels, and then there were plays, screenplays, children's books, travel journals, short story collections. Out of all that, all I managed to read was The Man Within, his less than spectacular first attempt at a novel. Such were the deflating affects of that ho-hum experience that twenty years passed before I picked up my second Greene, A Gun For Sale aka This Gun For Hire. It wasn't great, but it was good enough to reignite my interest. Since then I've renewed my pledge, but with lowered expectations. I just don't think I'll be able to bulldoze through his work. If only his work was a bit more exciting. As you read on a growing sense that nothing will be resolved starts to envelope you, and if you're a person that likes resolution, you're up shit's creek paddle-less, my friend. If you let the current take you, you'll float along into a boggy morass of self-doubt and moral ambiguity, where you're left to stew in unpleasant juices (<<< like contemplating a poorly mixed metaphor). Graham Greene writes thinking man's books and I don't mean books for smart folk necessarily. I mean he intends you to ponder his ideas well after you've put the book down. The Power and the Glory is just such a book. That's fine, but couldn't he have managed both? Say perhaps, a thinking man's thriller? I'm just asking for a little more spark. It would make me leap to his next book!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Laysee

    The Power and the Glory is a powerful novel that is unashamed to reveal the inglorious that resides in human nature and the real struggles the best of us encounter in trying to rise above our limitations. The protagonist is an unnamed whisky priest who is all too acutely aware that he is unfit for office. The story is set in the southern Mexican state of Tabasco in the 1930s when the Catholic Church was outlawed by the revolutionary government. It was a time of religious persecution and a capital The Power and the Glory is a powerful novel that is unashamed to reveal the inglorious that resides in human nature and the real struggles the best of us encounter in trying to rise above our limitations. The protagonist is an unnamed whisky priest who is all too acutely aware that he is unfit for office. The story is set in the southern Mexican state of Tabasco in the 1930s when the Catholic Church was outlawed by the revolutionary government. It was a time of religious persecution and a capital offence to function as a priest. All priests are to be shot unless they conform to the governor’s law to marry. The whisky priest is the last priest alive on the run, hotly pursued by a police lieutenant who despises the Catholic Church and everything it stands for. A reward is placed on the head of the priest. In every village the priest has visited and given shelter, hostages are taken and killed unless they turn him in. I followed the whisky priest’s desperate shuttling from place to place to avoid capture with fear and trembling. It soon became clear that even though the priest is an alcoholic and has fathered a child, and continues to struggle with elements of the faith, he is moved by the suffering of others. On many occasions when he is at risk of being arrested, he has visited the dying, conducted Mass, listened to the confession of the people at their insistence, and even extended help to an outcast whom he knew will betray him. Yet, at other times he is not above charging the poor for baptism and bargaining with cantina owners for liquor, including wrestling the last chicken bone from a lame dog. He is ashamed and mortified. He encounters kindness from people he meets while on the run, and is moved by their extraordinary affection and companionship. What stood out was Greene’s ability to bare the whisky priest’s soul to us. He is tortured by his failings and unworthiness. Yet, he is honest in not being able to repent and is ashamed of his empty prayers of contrition and even habit of piety. What struck me the most is his palpable humanity. Reading his painful struggles, it is impossible to be self-righteous and think I can do better. The dominant feeling I had toward this priest is one of pity. The last section that documented his fate was heartbreaking. I was left with one thought after the last page was turned. Perhaps, there are no saints. There are only fallible human beings who sometimes, in rare moments of better judgment, succeed in showing kindness and compassion toward others. The Power and the Glory is considered Greene’s masterpiece and worthwhile reading.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    The Power and the Glory, Graham Greene’s 1940 novel about the Mexican state of Tabasco’s virulent anti-church campaign in the 1930s is a powerful statement about courage, duty and the persistence of faith. Greene describes the flight of the “whiskey priest” a never named survivor in the state’s operation to rid all vestiges of Catholic faith, even to the point of arresting priests, finding them guilty of treason and executing them against a wall with firing squads. Some priests were given the opp The Power and the Glory, Graham Greene’s 1940 novel about the Mexican state of Tabasco’s virulent anti-church campaign in the 1930s is a powerful statement about courage, duty and the persistence of faith. Greene describes the flight of the “whiskey priest” a never named survivor in the state’s operation to rid all vestiges of Catholic faith, even to the point of arresting priests, finding them guilty of treason and executing them against a wall with firing squads. Some priests were given the opportunity to renounce their faith, to marry and to forgo their earlier duties. Greene’s protagonist is a mixed bag of guilt, dogmatic devotion to duty (albeit a deeply conflicted one and in whose service he is often reluctant) and, finally, saintly mettle. During the priest's evasion from the police, Greene introduces his readers to an unsavory assortment of characters who further illustrate the signs of the times; from the over zealous and idealistic Socialist Lieutenant who chases him to the various citizens with diverse reactions to his plight and to their own faith. Told with warmth, humor and an endearing faith in humanity to do what is right in spite of the difficulties, Greene demonstrates his mastery of the language and his ability to create a work of lasting importance.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Chris_P

    I'm not a Christian. I most probably am an agnostic who's constantly flirting with atheism. What I feel about the Church as a constitution and the practices of the priests and their followers is contempt, to say the least. You read this, now look at my rating. OK? Read it again. Look at my rating. Get it? This is a book that's called The Power And The Glory and it's about a priest trying to stay alive in a country where all priests are executed and faith is prohibited. The reason it appealed to I'm not a Christian. I most probably am an agnostic who's constantly flirting with atheism. What I feel about the Church as a constitution and the practices of the priests and their followers is contempt, to say the least. You read this, now look at my rating. OK? Read it again. Look at my rating. Get it? This is a book that's called The Power And The Glory and it's about a priest trying to stay alive in a country where all priests are executed and faith is prohibited. The reason it appealed to me, apart from the great writing and plot development, is that Greene handles the subject without being in the least dogmatic. The reason I think it's a masterpiece is that Greene, as is exactly the case with his hero, seems to be in a constant conflict with God. As a result, there are no "good Christians vs bad unfaithful people" clichés here. Many questions are raised within the story and it's for the reader to give the answers. Whether your beliefs are similar to mine or completely opposite, don't hesitate to read The Power And The Glory. You will find yourselves immersed in its pages and what you'll find there may surprise you. A true masterpiece.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bob Newman

    When a man with a gun meets a man with a prayer.....the man with a prayer is a dead man." Not many people would start off a review of a Graham Greene novel with a paraphrase from a Clint Eastwood movie, but I am just a drifter on the high plains of literature. This is no doubt a powerful novel with the same theme of man's relation to God that suffuses many of Greene's other works. In a Mexico where state control had broken down, local satraps carried out projects of their own, taking national pol When a man with a gun meets a man with a prayer.....the man with a prayer is a dead man." Not many people would start off a review of a Graham Greene novel with a paraphrase from a Clint Eastwood movie, but I am just a drifter on the high plains of literature. This is no doubt a powerful novel with the same theme of man's relation to God that suffuses many of Greene's other works. In a Mexico where state control had broken down, local satraps carried out projects of their own, taking national policy to extremes. So, in Tabasco, a warlord decreed that all priests must be expelled, forced to marry, or killed; all churches would be closed or destroyed. A few priests dared to stay behind in secret, defying the tyrant, ministering to the suffering masses (or continuing to bilk them---from an atheistic point of view) The main character here is a priest, driven from pillar to post, hunted like a bandit (indeed he is paired with a gringo killer in terms of police priorities), riding a mule through the jungles and swamps, hiding out with reluctant villagers, fearing betrayal at every step, but never giving up. He recognizes that he is a sinner (alcoholic, father of a child) but though he is human, he is yet divine through his soaring spirit, which slowly emerges and arises through his fear. Whether Greene could really get inside a Mexican priest's head is another question. I'll leave it to Mexicans to decide. A cold-blooded police lieutenant hunts the priest, swearing to kill him. He too is human, not a cardboard baddie, he has hopes for the new generation who will never be subservient to the wiles of `the Church'. A couple minor English characters appear from time to time: though well-drawn, I felt they were superfluous in a parable-style tale like this. Pain and martyrdom, sacrifice, duty, contradiction and consistency---all these in God's name or in the name of no God, but Fate. The priest escapes to Chiapas, a more moderate state, but returns at the behest of a debased informer, knowing his certain doom full well, accepting his Fate (even though dreading it) like Christ. The police lieutenant understands the priest's humanity at the end, but carries out his duty. The power wins out, but the glory lives on. A great book which carries a lot of suspense within its pages.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kemper

    One thing I know after reading this, All the Pretty Horses and Joe Lansdale’s Captains Outrageous, I ain’t going to Mexico any time soon. Graham Greene’s classic account of a priest living on the run in a Mexican state after socialists have taken political control and are trying to abolish the Catholic Church is a grim tale of human nature at it’s best and worst. The unnamed priest is a drunk who isn’t particularly brave and has committed sins big enough to register fairly high on he Catholic G One thing I know after reading this, All the Pretty Horses and Joe Lansdale’s Captains Outrageous, I ain’t going to Mexico any time soon. Graham Greene’s classic account of a priest living on the run in a Mexican state after socialists have taken political control and are trying to abolish the Catholic Church is a grim tale of human nature at it’s best and worst. The unnamed priest is a drunk who isn’t particularly brave and has committed sins big enough to register fairly high on he Catholic Guilt-O-Meter. Even as he flees, he half-hopes to be captured and end his miserable life on the run, but he still tries to cling to his duty and faith by holding Mass and hearing confessions when possible. The priest is being pursued by a Lieutenant, a committed socialist who hates the Chruch for the way it milked the poor for every peso, yet while he believes he’s doing the best thing for the peasants, he won’t hesitate to kill some of them in an attempt to get the priest to be given up by the locals. It’s a classic portrayal of someone who puts their ideology above actual people. This is my second Graham Greene book, and like The Heart of the Matter this one has a lot to do with Catholic ideas of what damns and redeems someone. I liked it, but as a non-Catholic, I hate seeing characters tied in knots because of dogma. I tend to see their worrying about their eternal damnation for not being able to perform a ritual as kind of silly and pointless. Still, Greene’s good enough to make me sympathize with the plight of the priest, and it’s a powerful story.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Steven Godin

    After being received into the Roman Catholic Church Graham Greene would some years later travel to Mexico in 1938 to report and witness first hand the persecution of the clergy, this would clearly go on to have a major impact in writing 'The Power and the Glory', which sees an unnamed Priest (known to locals as the 'whisky Priest') go on the run from the authorities during a time of religious hostilities where many Priests were tried for treason and shot, with only his mule and little in the way After being received into the Roman Catholic Church Graham Greene would some years later travel to Mexico in 1938 to report and witness first hand the persecution of the clergy, this would clearly go on to have a major impact in writing 'The Power and the Glory', which sees an unnamed Priest (known to locals as the 'whisky Priest') go on the run from the authorities during a time of religious hostilities where many Priests were tried for treason and shot, with only his mule and little in the way of supplies he navigates the harsh terrain trying to evade capture, and it's the humane and compassionate poor folk of small towns and villages along the way that help to keep him safe even while being offered a reward for his arrest, all the while the Priest is struggling with his own demons and bringing into question his faith and that of those around him. At times things get pretty tense where capture seems inevitable only for him to somehow escape, but I never felt he was in anyway afraid of his outcome and that his life was basically in the hands of God to decide his fate. Although written as a work of fiction I would not be surprised if some content was based on fact, and the writing is highly believable and impeccable throughout, as my first Graham Greene novel I can fully understand why he was considered one of the greats.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dave Schaafsma

    “He knew now that at the end there was only one thing that counted-- to be a saint.”--Greene I have always listed this book among the top ten novels of my life, but have not read it for many years. I agree with John Updike, who says of the book, “This is Greene’s masterpiece. The energy and grandeur of his finest novel derive from the will toward compassion, and an ideal communism even more Christian than Communist.” I just reread Greene’s The Heart of the Matter, which I found terrific, but dar “He knew now that at the end there was only one thing that counted-- to be a saint.”--Greene I have always listed this book among the top ten novels of my life, but have not read it for many years. I agree with John Updike, who says of the book, “This is Greene’s masterpiece. The energy and grandeur of his finest novel derive from the will toward compassion, and an ideal communism even more Christian than Communist.” I just reread Greene’s The Heart of the Matter, which I found terrific, but darker than Power and the Glory, which though also dark, sings in places, and is ultimately moving, and unforgettable. And to this agnostic (me, I mean), he makes a powerful case for some kind of faith in love, even possibly God's love: “'Oh,' the priest said, 'God is love. I don't say the heart doesn't feel a taste of it, but what a taste. The smallest glass of love mixed with a pint pot of ditch-water. We wouldn't recognize that love. It might even look like hate. It would be enough to scare us--God's love. It set fire to a bush in the desert, and smashed open graves. Oh, a man like me would run a mile to get away if he felt that love around.’” And it’s a particular kind of love, one for the poor, the indigent, and not the love of the Crystal Cathedral and the comfortably rich. The Power and the Glory is one of four “Catholic” novels from Greene (also including The End of the Affair and Brighton Park), though all of them feature struggles with faith worthy of Dostoevsky and J. M. Coetzee. This is a pilgrimage novel—such as John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, or even Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, in a way, a story of hope and love in the darkest of times. The whiskey priest is stripped of every religious vestment, his life reduced to bare spiritual essentials. He’s not a saint, he’s very much a human being with deep flaws who continues to serve as a priest and keep his faith in God. Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation was in part intended to address what were seen as abuses of the Roman Catholic Church, which some had seen as getting rich and fat as the poor suffered. This was also the idea behind the Red Shirt anti-clericalism of Mexico in the thirties, where priests were forced to marry, and the Church and indeed all evidence of religion was eventually--for a time--banned. Priests who did not renounce their faith were at one point rounded up and shot. Those who didn’t turn over priests in some towns were taken hostage and shot. It is in this context Greene writes of the last priest in the state of Tabasco, who had fathered a child whom he loves, though it is evidence of his "sin," his "adultery." “How often the priest had heard the same confession--Man was so limited: he hadn't even the ingenuity to invent a new vice: the animals knew as much. It was for this world that Christ had died: the more evil you saw and heard about you, the greater the glory lay around the death; it was too easy to die for what was good or beautiful, for home or children or civilization--it needed a God to die for the half-hearted and the corrupt.” The whiskey priest can hear the confessions of people wherever he goes, but he himself can't yet renounce his own transgressions. “When we love the fruit of our sin we are damned indeed,” the whiskey priest thinks. But he can’t repent this sin, because he loves her, of course, which of course makes so much sense for all of us. The priest also drinks, and he is afraid of the death that he is faced with as the authorities hunt him down, as he is tracked down by a character he knows as “Judas” again and again. Pomp and “respectability” are taken from him, as he, like Jesus, goes among the poor, the destitute. His is an identity by subtraction--almost a kind of Buddhist renunciation--as he loses everything he has owned, is reduced to rags, without shoes. And still he performs the Mass, and hears confessions of people as he goes. And his nemesis in this tale is a red shirt atheist/Communist lieutenant who hates the Church and its indulgences, and hates the priest, too, for not taking an active role against poverty: “It infuriated him to think that there were still people in the state who believed in a loving and merciful God. There are mystics who are said to have experienced God directly. He was a mystic, too, and what he had experienced was vacancy--a complete certainty in the existence of a dying, cooling world, of human beings who had evolved from animals for no purpose at all. He knew.” There are powerful images of spiritual anguish in this book, such as this one of an encounter on the road between the priest and a woman whose baby has died, who carries him in search of a blessing, maybe searching for a miracle: “The woman had gone down on her knees and was shuffling slowly across the cruel ground towards the group of crosses: the dead baby rocked on her back. When she reached the tallest cross she unhooked the child and held the face against the wood and afterwards the loins: then she crossed herself, not as ordinary Catholics do, but in a curious and complicated pattern which included the nose and ears. Did she expect a miracle? And if she did, why should it not be granted her? the priest wondered. Faith, one was told, could move mountains, and here was faith--faith in the spittle that healed the blind man and the voice that raised the dead. The evening star was out: it hung low down over the edge of the plateau: it looked as if it was within reach: and a small hot wind stirred. The priest found himself watching the child for some movement. When none came, it was as if God had missed an opportunity. The woman sat down, and taking a lump of sugar from her bundle, began to eat, and the child lay quiet at the foot of the cross. Why, after all, should we expect God to punish the innocent with more life?” This is a powerful novel of spiritual depth, one of my favorite books ever. When I first read it I was a Christian, and again when I taught it, and now think of myself as an agnostic, but I was still very moved by this book again all the way through. I don't think you have to be religious to strive for some kind of meaning in bleak circumstances. Greene was once asked where he imagined the whiskey priest might be, in the afterlife, and he answered “purgatory,” which is to say neither saint nor damned, but as a deeply flawed and sympathetic human being who loves his daughter, who makes him realize: “We must love the whole world as if it were a single child.” With that kind of love, then, you could have some chance of changing the world. You don't have to be religious to understand that kind of love and commitment to goodness.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Michael Perkins

    This is a re-read and, boy, no one writes this well any more. The prison chapter, #3 in Part Two, is an utterly amazing piece of writing. You feel you're right there in the dark, crowded cell with the whiskey priest and the rest of the inmates. This book should be required reading in any college English lit class. ============ Truly haunting..... "They had travelled by the sun until the black wooded bar of mountain told them where to go. They might have been the only survivors of a world which was This is a re-read and, boy, no one writes this well any more. The prison chapter, #3 in Part Two, is an utterly amazing piece of writing. You feel you're right there in the dark, crowded cell with the whiskey priest and the rest of the inmates. This book should be required reading in any college English lit class. ============ Truly haunting..... "They had travelled by the sun until the black wooded bar of mountain told them where to go. They might have been the only survivors of a world which was dying out; they carried the visible marks of the dying with them....At sunset on the second day they came out on to a wide plateau covered with short grass. A grove of crosses stood up blackly against the sky, leaning at different angles— some as high as twenty feet, some not much more than eight. They were like trees that had been left to seed....The evening star was out: it hung low down over the edge of the plateau— it looked as if it was within reach— and a small hot wind stirred." ============ the danger of spiritual pride for the whiskey priest...... "It was appalling how easily one forgot and went back; he could still hear his own voice speaking in the street with the Concepción accent— unchanged by mortal sin and unrepentance and desertion. The brandy was musty on the tongue with his own corruption. God might forgive cowardice and passion, but was it possible to forgive the habit of piety?....men like the half-caste could be saved, salvation could strike like lightning at the evil heart, but the habit of piety excluded everything but the evening prayer and the Guild meeting and the feel of humble lips on your gloved hand." But also common human weakness... "He told himself. In time it will be all right, I shall pull up, I only ordered three bottles this time. They will be the last I’ll ever drink, I won’t need drink there— he knew he lied." ======================= In 1960, a Catholic teacher in California wrote Greene: "One day I gave The Power and the Glory to…a native of Mexico who had lived through the worst persecutions…. She confessed that your descriptions were so vivid, your priest so real, that she found herself praying for him at Mass. I understand how she felt. Last year, on a trip through Mexico. I found myself peering into mud huts, through village streets, and across impassible mountain ranges, half-believing that I would glimpse a dim figure stumbling in the rain on his way to the border. There is no greater tribute possible to your creation of this character—he lives". ============== And some interesting insight into the nemesis... A hero-maker narrative based on moral superiority is convincingly captured in Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory, which is set in Mexico during the persecution of the Catholic Church. When a murderous police lieutenant examines a photograph of a wanted priest, the emotion comes first: ‘Something you could almost have called horror moved him’. Next comes the self-justifying memory, followed instantly by a hero-maker narrative that ties it all together so that the killer is reassured he’s a moral actor: "he remembered the smell of the incense in the churches of his boyhood, the candles and the laciness and the self-esteem, the immense demands made from the altar steps by men who didn’t know the meaning of sacrifice. The old peasants knelt there before the holy images with their arms held out in an attitude of the cross: tired by the long day’s labour . . . and the priest came round with the collecting-bag taking their centavos, abusing them for all their small comforting sins, and sacrificing nothing at all in return . . . He said, ‘We will catch him.’" A character’s conviction in their rightness and superiority is precisely what gives them their terrible power. Storr, Will (2020-03-10). The Science of Storytelling: Why Stories Make Us Human and How to Tell Them Better (p. 98). Harry N. Abrams. Kindle Edition. ========================= The Power and the Glory was published in 1940. For all the struggle in the story, it has an idealistic ending. That would not be the case with Greene's "A Burnt-Out Case," published 20 years later.... "A Burnt-Out Case" review.... https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... ======== A favorite Greene quote.... “Doubt is the heart of the matter. Abolish all doubt, and what's left is not faith, but absolute, heartless conviction. You're certain that you possess the Truth -- inevitably offered with an implied uppercase T -- and this certainty quickly devolves into dogmatism and righteousness, by which I mean a demonstrative, overweening pride in being so very right, in short, the arrogance of fundamentalism.”

  19. 5 out of 5

    Monika

    The Power and the Glory is a powerful and a glorious story. Set as a consequence of Cristero War, the novel revolves majorly around the journey of a whisky priest, a term coined by Graham Greene. An attempt by Mexican government to suppress the Catholic Church was in full swing. As a result, the lieutenant comes up with a plan so that he can follow the government's order. This novel is essentially about perspectives and kindness in the face of the barren world. It is about mutual respect to diffe The Power and the Glory is a powerful and a glorious story. Set as a consequence of Cristero War, the novel revolves majorly around the journey of a whisky priest, a term coined by Graham Greene. An attempt by Mexican government to suppress the Catholic Church was in full swing. As a result, the lieutenant comes up with a plan so that he can follow the government's order. This novel is essentially about perspectives and kindness in the face of the barren world. It is about mutual respect to differing ideas. It is about regretting for some deeds, while not regretting for the result of those deeds. It is about abandonment and hushed secrets. It is about recurring ghostly presences. All in all, it is a wasteland that the modern world has continued to be.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Zoeb

    I wish I could write like Graham Greene. Actually, I take that back. I wish I could see the world and chronicle it as Greene did. And I wish, oh how I wish, that I could believe like Greene. 'The Power And The Glory' is lauded widely (and deservedly so) as Greene's masterpiece and while some hard-nosed critics and snobs call it a 'Catholic novel' merely because its primary protagonist is a priest and it deals primarily with the said priest's struggle to keep the flag of his faith flying even in I wish I could write like Graham Greene. Actually, I take that back. I wish I could see the world and chronicle it as Greene did. And I wish, oh how I wish, that I could believe like Greene. 'The Power And The Glory' is lauded widely (and deservedly so) as Greene's masterpiece and while some hard-nosed critics and snobs call it a 'Catholic novel' merely because its primary protagonist is a priest and it deals primarily with the said priest's struggle to keep the flag of his faith flying even in the oppressive atmosphere of Mexico in the days of the Red Shirts, it is important to note that the novel transcends effortlessly the very limited scope of a real Catholic novel. I stepped into Greene's book with exhilaration but also a faint sense of apprehension; an overtly Catholic novel, while undoubtedly intriguing, could also be a bit inaccessible, unfathomable even in all its moral conundrums and intriguing spiritual arguments. However, right from the first page, reeking of the stark desolation and disillusionment that marks many a page in this 200+page magnum opus, we know that we are in the hands of Greene again, more compellingly than ever, the tale writ large over his customary canvas of a morally grey landscape that almost feels like dystopia. Our protagonist is a priest. Greene does not give him a name or even much of a description apart from the stray discerning glances that he lends every now and then. Faces and identities, like so much other seemingly pivotal detail, are of no great significance; like a Biblical narrative, 'The Power And The Glory' reads like a brooding yet frequently eye-gouging nihilistic spectacle played out over a ruthless, sun-baked and sweltering land where this priest is forced to take flight and keep on plodding ahead for his life. Christianity, or rather religion and belief of God itself, is deemed as taboo and treason in this alienating and desolate part of a savagely beautiful country and priests are either shamed into mortal sin and lazy complacency or shot down like political prisoners. Yet, the priest goes on, doing his work, sometimes out of reluctance, sometimes out of a misplaced, naively genereous passion for the downtrodden and desperate who seek his succour. Alongside Greene, however, it is God who is also at the helm of this strange yet stirringly grand narrative. It is well said that 'Man proposes and God disposes' and whenever Greene grants his flawed yet obstinately proud priest a chance, a fair shot at redemption or even escape, it is God who seems to intervene, deciding otherwise. 'The Power And The Glory', more than any other Greene novel (and so many, from 'The Heart Of The Matter' to 'The Human Factor' to even 'The Honorary Consul' come brilliantly close to it), explains with potent force and profundity the predicament and despair of mortal man at the mercy of metaphysical forces and the strange workings of the soul itself, of the irreparable devastation that faith, or the obsessive, even toxic belief in an ideal both noble and ruthless, can bring on the soul. And yet, what makes 'The Power And The Glory' frequently uplifting and invigorating, even as every moment of possible release and redemption darkens spectacularly into doom, is Greene's strident insistence that we need to believe, if not in Christianity then in some faith that concedes to the acceptance of God's eye-widening miracles. Unfairly attacked by the Church for being heretical, here is instead a rousing vindication of the very essential belief in an existence and omnipotence of God and yet Greene is no mere preacher from a pulpit. He is instead a warrior poet with a soul of subtlety and compassion and even as the novel culminates in heartbreak and catharsis, there is always a little but nevertheless all too distinct room for hope. Some have likened it to a modern Cruxificion parable and the metaphors and similarities are unmistakable and the even the darkest scenes in the narrative bring such a surging force of emotion that it is hard not to be swept along. As I started reading 'The Power And The Glory', I had been talking to a friend who had read it a long time ago and he remembered that the first time he finished the book, he thought of it to be dystopia. Indeed, as ever with the powerfully and prophetically prescient Greene, this is set in a specific country in a specific epoch of chaos and darkness but it is more than just about Mexico in the 1930s. It is rather indeed as powerful a dystopian portrait of mankind brought to its knees by a regime that uproots the very nourishment of the human soul as any can be. Greene's portrait of that country is one rendered in telling and deeply nuanced strokes; any other writer would have been content to indulge in exotic scenery but the characters that Greene populates his world with, as an evidence of his peerless storytelling abilities and astute command of craft, are not merely literary stereotypes; they might not have faces, identities or even backstories but they have flesh, blood and souls that makes them so compelling. And as always, Greene's prose is flawless, beautiful and dramatic without exaggeration or excess. Not a word is out of place, not a trope is repeated; like Hemingway, the words sing lithely yet profoundly. Just that in Greene's case, the words are even more beautiful. Is 'The Power And The Glory' Greene's finest novel yet? The fact that we are pondering over this question is itself the answer. Read it for yourself to believe just how powerful and glorious it is. Hallelujah!

  21. 4 out of 5

    James

    A truly great book and (forgive the use of what is probably a very well –worn cliché) a novel that is without a doubt powerful and glorious on many levels. Set in Mexico in the 1930’s against the backdrop of an attempted suppression of the Catholic Church by the authorities. Ostensibly this is the story of the fugitive, renegade ‘Whiskey Priest’ (a great creation and a believably authentic character) and his quest to escape the anti-Catholic authorities. This is a novel that confronts head-on th A truly great book and (forgive the use of what is probably a very well –worn cliché) a novel that is without a doubt powerful and glorious on many levels. Set in Mexico in the 1930’s against the backdrop of an attempted suppression of the Catholic Church by the authorities. Ostensibly this is the story of the fugitive, renegade ‘Whiskey Priest’ (a great creation and a believably authentic character) and his quest to escape the anti-Catholic authorities. This is a novel that confronts head-on the biggest of themes: sin, redemption, salvation, damnation, heaven, hell and practically everything else in between. Also encompassed here is the dogmatic approach of both organised religion and the authorities attempting to not just to crush and outlaw, but to obliterate that religion – the pitfalls, limitations, restrictions and constraints of any rigidly authoritarian belief system. But the story here is not merely as simple and straightforward as one of ‘religion vs anti-religion’ – far from it. Essentially it seems to me that the ’Whiskey Priest’ (our hero or anti-hero? – you choose) isn’t just a representation or metaphor for the Catholic Church; to me the power of this novel and the characters within goes way beyond the constraints of religion – surely the ‘Whiskey Priest’ is everyman and the story every life – comprised as they are of hopes, fears, desires, dreams, failures, victories, disappointments, faith and doubt… Graham Greene himself visited Mexico in the 1930’s and would have witnessed and been aware of the attempted suppression of the Catholic Church – something which will undoubtedly have informed elements of this novel. Green didn’t however view himself as a ‘Catholic author’ rather more – an author who happened to be Catholic. Religion as a theme, in many different ways, does seem more than evident in many of his novels. Certainly religion in this novel is considered in many ways – religion and its suppressors, organised religion juxtaposed with religion on a far more personal basis. ‘The Power and The Glory’ is simply a great and powerful work – which I look forward to reading again, as there is so much in it to fully take in and take away. It is a novel that is so well written, constructed, plotted and thought out - moving, authentic, intelligent and thought provoking. This is a very human story, it’s about the human condition and above all else – it’s about life and death, good and evil, hate and love and above all – hope.

  22. 4 out of 5

    K.D. Absolutely

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I read this book during my 3-day visit in San Diego and it was an appropriate choice because of the proximity of the place to Mexico and there are more Mexicans in that place than causcasians. This book is considered by many novelists as Graham Greene's masterpiece and I think they are right. This is a story of a nameless Catholic priest who is pious but at the same time alcoholic and fathered a child. These may not be shocking at the present time but this novel created a scandal in the catholic I read this book during my 3-day visit in San Diego and it was an appropriate choice because of the proximity of the place to Mexico and there are more Mexicans in that place than causcasians. This book is considered by many novelists as Graham Greene's masterpiece and I think they are right. This is a story of a nameless Catholic priest who is pious but at the same time alcoholic and fathered a child. These may not be shocking at the present time but this novel created a scandal in the catholic world when it was asked by a cardinal of Westminster to be revised including the two other novels of the same author. The setting of the story was in Mexico when the government, in the 30's was trying to eradicate Catholicism in the country. The main two characters are that priest (the last one standing) and the lieutenant who was able to arrest and prosecute the priest towards the end of the story. However, prior to the final scene another priest came up that gave the hint that the catholicism was there to survive in Mexico. What I really liked about the story is the presentation of the characters. The 'human' character of the priest was not hidden for the sake of making him saint-like. Also, the character of the lieutenant was also not all evil. In fact, in most parts of the story he made more sense that the priest except when he was killing people for the priest to surface. This book is both in the 501 and 1001 Must Read Books and indeed it is right to be there.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Fede

    "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church". Thus Tertullian wrote in Apologeticus, chapter 50. He kind of knew what he was talking about, as he lived long before the glorious days of triumphant Christianity - long before Constantine's mother started throwing tantrums and her son realised Pope Sylvester was not merely fucking around with chalices and wafers ("In hoc signo vinces": how about that, Marshall McLuhan?). Like it or not, Tertullian's words summarise the essence of Christianity "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church". Thus Tertullian wrote in Apologeticus, chapter 50. He kind of knew what he was talking about, as he lived long before the glorious days of triumphant Christianity - long before Constantine's mother started throwing tantrums and her son realised Pope Sylvester was not merely fucking around with chalices and wafers ("In hoc signo vinces": how about that, Marshall McLuhan?). Like it or not, Tertullian's words summarise the essence of Christianity better than the whole Summa Theologiæ. No doubt Christianity was born of a bloodshed; it also thrived in it, though. I daresay it owes everything to it. Its most sacred rite is an act of sublimated cannibalism we inherited from the human butchery of ancient Canaan. The Christian God offered His Only Son (capital letters are compulsory) so that we could stop slaughtering our own firstborn children and wash our sins in their blood. Let's face it: although not overtly nuts as the worshipers of Kali, we've always been quite obsessed with blood. The early Christians went through persecution with a feverish lust for physical and psychological abuse. It was not death as such that could satisfy their hunger for holiness: it had to be long, painful and humiliating. To the delight of Krafft-Ebing and Bataille, they had to cross the threshold of Heaven leaving a trail of blood behind them. A couple of centuries later the blood was no longer their own. It was that of their enemies. The problem is, once in a while it happens again. Let aside the internal affairs (schisms, reformations, counter-reformations and settling of accounts) Christianity does have enemies: either it is in Queen Ranavalona's Madagascar or in pre-Commodore Perry Japan, beyond the iron curtain or in the African wilderness, martyrdom is always at hand. If nowadays there's no Nero using the devotees as human torches to illuminate the streets of Rome, it's just because we have subtler means to perform pogroms and murders - namely politics and legal systems. One of the relatively recent persecutions took place in Mexico during Calles' presidency. In 1926 the government declared the Catholic Church to be the source of all evil and started a violent purge against both the clergy and the religious population; all throughout the following decade the people's reaction was fierce and 70.000-85.000 people died in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. British journalist and newly converted Graham Green visited Mexico in 1938 to report on the religious persecution and was therefore first-hand witness of the atmosphere of those years. "The Power and the Glory" is the way Greene, looking back at the tragedy one year later, came to terms with his own inner concerns and religious contradictions. The protagonist is a nameless alkie priest wandering through the Mexican waste lands, chased by the government's hangmen and consumed by feelings of inadequacy and sense of guilt. His past is not exactly immaculate indeed, as it seems to validate all the anticlerical stereotypes people is usually fed by hostile ideologues. He considers himself unworthy of everything he's got, even persecution. Suffering in the name of the Lord is an honour he doesn't really deserve, or so he thinks. The thing is, the man's the only priest available. Hungry, exhausted, terrified, reeking of cheap booze, he's the last of his kind and feels the terrible burden of his function - a stigma he just can't rid himself of, despite the overwhelming fear. Isn't that the true nature of faith anyway? In his own words, "To believe in peace was a kind of heresy". In fact hatred and betrayal are everywhere and the enemy is closing in, but he can't surrender, even though the only way out is death: surrender would be a fate worse than death, the ultimate failure in his miserable existence. He's given up on himself already... he's not going to give up on God too. Thus he keeps celebrating the outlawed Christian rites among the poor and the desperate, all along the road leading to his doom. Whereas the respectable clergy chose either escape or betrayal, Greene's wretched priest is called to become a martyr. Heat. Bugs. Toothless mouths. Greasy hair and unwashed bodies. Stinking ratholes and rotting mud huts. By his own admission, Graham Greene wrote most of this book while on benzedrine - and it definitely shows. In a good way, that is. Greene's writing style is elegant and atmospheric; his descriptions of the Mexican landscape are incredibly vivid and real (especially if you read the novel while the temperature is 40°C, drenched in sweat, mosquitos feasting on your legs), not to mention the way he portrays the characters' physical and moral ugliness, which can be compared to the Western Expressionism of Alejandro Jodorowsky's "El Topo" or the (few) gems of what they called Spaghetti Western - that peculiar blend of Italian histrionics and cardboard Americana of the 60s and early 70s. The narration is balanced, with no redundant details nor convoluted subplots. The dialogues are also well-written; all the characters sound natural and the author makes clever use of both flashback and stream of consciousness, with an excellent sense of depth and psychological introspection. However, it would be pointless to draw parallels between Greene's conversion to Catholicism and the subject of his novel. Let alone his motives (he had to so in order to marry a Roman Catholic), the author's attitude toward religion was quite different - he was hardly tormented by the sort of doubts, shame and self-contempt at the core of his priest's personality. Greene was neither a frustrated ascetic nor a repentant sinner; his devotion was more cerebral than emotional. His main interest was in the human dimension of faith, seen as the source of empathy and compassion and therefore as a common experience taking place beyond the confined space of individuality. My first Graham Greene was definitely worth reading. Only thing, I would have liked more blood.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I like books that have more questions than answers. But the questions have to be good, like this: "... she unhooked the child and held the face against the wood...Did she expect a miracle? And if she did, why should it not be granted her?...The priest found himself watching the child for some movement. When none came, it was as if God had missed an opportunity. Why, after all, should we expect God to punish the innocent with more life?" The Power and the Glory started off slow and stifling. Th I like books that have more questions than answers. But the questions have to be good, like this: "... she unhooked the child and held the face against the wood...Did she expect a miracle? And if she did, why should it not be granted her?...The priest found himself watching the child for some movement. When none came, it was as if God had missed an opportunity. Why, after all, should we expect God to punish the innocent with more life?" The Power and the Glory started off slow and stifling. The air is hot, and the sound of a fly hovering around your ear is about all you get. There is no water. A scraggly guy shows up and talks to a mediocre dentist. Ho hum. Then the scraggly guy is off, somehow needed at a dying person's side. Somewhere in the jungle lightning cracks. The air shifts. The world of the book cracks open and the ground rumbles. And suddenly, tiny razor cuts of prose start to sting. You're alive, the book's alive, the scraggly man is alive. The pain is an exquisite reminder of reality and humanity. The scraggly man is Christ in the stranger's garb. Hunted, maligned, but pressing onward, riding a donkey, shunned by his own family and surrendered to forces beyond himself that he only wishes he could fight fairer and without drops of whiskey. Obviously, I see this man being shown as a fool for the divine- a holy fool-the biblical kind of foolishness that somehow, like many Old Testament prophets, hits square on the center of truth and blackens the eye with true humility despite, because of, or combined with crazy assed behavior like being covered with matted animal skins, mouths dirty with smeared honey and locust tidbits. Am I reading too much into Greene? Consider this, the sacrificial servant passage: "If he left them, they would be safe:and they would be free from his example:he was the only priest the children could remember. It was from him they would take their ideas of the faith. But it was from him too they took God - in their mouths. When he was gone it would be as if God in all this space between the sea and mountains ceased to exist. Wasn't it his duty to stay, even if they despised him, even if they were murdered for his sake, even if they were corrupted by his example? He was shaken by the enormity of the problem: he lay with his hands over his eyes: nowhere, in all the wide flat marshy land, was there a single person he could consult...." But this is not the only thing to see through Greene's looking glass. There's more- that right and wrong/good and evil is not a black and white road as the Catholic Church seemed to at times imply, but a gray path through a hard wilderness- that evil people can do very good things and good people can do very bad things. The sinner and the saint come in unlikely bodies and their spirits cross. And this is reality and it is also the most fantastical fantasy. Authors who deal with religious themes often include characters that, to use the lyrics of a CAKE song, "shine like justice." Greene's whiskey priest character doesn't do this. He wrestles with the divine, like Jacob with the angel the whole night through and when he awakes he finds that, like Jacob, he is limping. The priest doesn't float a foot off the muddy ground blessedly sermonizing to all he meets full of the awareness of his own power among the people, sanctified with a golden ring over his head. He walks through the mud, for years hides out among them, plodding along through life shitting and eating and fucking just like everyone else, making mistakes and trying to find meaning in the mess of it all. Greene takes characters, gives them flesh, feeds them on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and then watches them fall like the rest of us mortals. And the way that they fall! There are serial killers who use their last dying gasps of air trying to save someone else, law breakers who remain smug in false piety and feel comfortable enough passing judgement on those who share the same shitbucket, poser priests who have sold their shepherd staffs and flocks for the wolfish clothing of easy survival and governmental compliance, a conflicted lieutenant who would see his own noble theories and principles violently enforced, and a Judas figure who doesn't even have the good sense enough to hang himself from the nearest tree. And the whiskey priest shares communion with all of them, sharing the bread and the wine in equal amounts. The story distills itself by the end, culminating in a powerful and heady sip of the inevitable. The whiskey priest manages to "work out his own salvation with fear and with trembling" and abide by the Pauline exclamation that the meaning of death is the same as the meaning of life ("To live is Christ and to die is gain.") It is my understanding that the title also expresses this, through a small bit of the Lord's Prayer: "To thine be the Power and the Glory forever, amen." But, like the whiskey priest, I am open to others' interpretations.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    The “whisky priest” is on the run from the law from the law in Mexico. Set in period in Mexico’s history where priests where being shot and the Catholic Church was illegal, this book plays like the New Testament mixed with an existential western. Grim and suspenseful, stocked with cinematic imagery in a gothic and decaying Mexico, this book is masterpiece from the first page on. While my personal beliefs are nearer to the nihilistic lieutenant (kind of a Miltonic devil type character) chasing th The “whisky priest” is on the run from the law from the law in Mexico. Set in period in Mexico’s history where priests where being shot and the Catholic Church was illegal, this book plays like the New Testament mixed with an existential western. Grim and suspenseful, stocked with cinematic imagery in a gothic and decaying Mexico, this book is masterpiece from the first page on. While my personal beliefs are nearer to the nihilistic lieutenant (kind of a Miltonic devil type character) chasing the priest, I think the ‘whisky priest” is one of literature’s great character. He is flawed and human but dedicated to and personifies his beliefs despite the suicidal risk he is taking. That member of the please-all McSweeney’s generation Rick Moody snarkily dismissed this book as “being too Catholic”. Well, Greene weaves his beliefs more openly into his work than say Flannery O’Conner or T.S. Eliot (early, not that “Four Quartets stuff), people of any or no belief should find this an emotionally and intellectually involving book. This is not a didactic Catholic apology but a troublesome piece of art.

  26. 5 out of 5

    John

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This novel was a pleasure to read. The unnamed Priest journey of 10 years in escaping death by firing squad reaches it's inevitable end. Greene describes well the moral struggles in the fight between good and evil with both hard to separate. The story is set in Mexico during the 1930s when Catholic priests were persecuted and forced to marry. The unnamed priest has lost his faith and still practices but without faith under the repressive Mexican regime. He struggles mentally and spiritually with This novel was a pleasure to read. The unnamed Priest journey of 10 years in escaping death by firing squad reaches it's inevitable end. Greene describes well the moral struggles in the fight between good and evil with both hard to separate. The story is set in Mexico during the 1930s when Catholic priests were persecuted and forced to marry. The unnamed priest has lost his faith and still practices but without faith under the repressive Mexican regime. He struggles mentally and spiritually within himself. The unnamed 'whisky priest' is on a journey of self-destruction. However, in the end he acquires a holiness by giving a confession to a dying man knowing his adversary the unnamed Lieutenant will capture and execute him. Fate plays a major role in the story and chance with the Priest managing several escapes. Then faced with a comfortable future he instead chooses death.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    As much as I have enjoyed Graham Greene recently, this one (his purported masterpiece) is not for me - abandoned at page 60. It is possible I'll pick it up again, but unlikely. Religion - Catholicism - is too much of a focus. As much as I have enjoyed Graham Greene recently, this one (his purported masterpiece) is not for me - abandoned at page 60. It is possible I'll pick it up again, but unlikely. Religion - Catholicism - is too much of a focus.

  28. 4 out of 5

    booklady

    His best, or my favorite anyway. Listened to the first half driving to St. Louis to care for my mom, the second half on the way back to my daughter’s shower. Read this back in 1998. I liked that the ‘Whiskey Priest’ was traveling as I was. I’m reading it now during my week at home and I may re-listen on my return journey ... there is so much to take in. Do we ever learn his name? It feels so strange that he has no name. And that he cannot repent of the sin which conceived his daughter. I can und His best, or my favorite anyway. Listened to the first half driving to St. Louis to care for my mom, the second half on the way back to my daughter’s shower. Read this back in 1998. I liked that the ‘Whiskey Priest’ was traveling as I was. I’m reading it now during my week at home and I may re-listen on my return journey ... there is so much to take in. Do we ever learn his name? It feels so strange that he has no name. And that he cannot repent of the sin which conceived his daughter. I can understand that in a way because we learn so much more from our sins than from our so-called successes. Father Jose is the opposite of Whiskey in that he is settled, not-on-the-run because he ‘took a wife’, capitulated, and now lives as a failed priest. Yet the Whiskey Priest sees him as the better priest, or at least he did. It is a strange, sad story about restlessness and life lived on the run. How the people we meet along the way shape us. I just want to keep reading it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Bettie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. (view spoiler)[ Bettie's Books (hide spoiler)] (view spoiler)[ Bettie's Books (hide spoiler)]

  30. 4 out of 5

    Algernon (Darth Anyan)

    [9/10] a great book, I could easily have given it 5 stars, but I'm trying to curb my enthusiasm a little, seeing how high my overall rating is. What can I do? I love books and I'm not that difficult to please. Although pleasing is not the first thing that comes to mind about The Power and The Glory. Disturbing, heart wrenching, gloomy, suicidally downbeat for most of the journey - yet I feel this is a story that needed to be told, one that couldn't be sugar coated with witty remarks or beautiful [9/10] a great book, I could easily have given it 5 stars, but I'm trying to curb my enthusiasm a little, seeing how high my overall rating is. What can I do? I love books and I'm not that difficult to please. Although pleasing is not the first thing that comes to mind about The Power and The Glory. Disturbing, heart wrenching, gloomy, suicidally downbeat for most of the journey - yet I feel this is a story that needed to be told, one that couldn't be sugar coated with witty remarks or beautiful phrasing. The first things to meet the reader are the buzzards hanging on top of derelict buildings in a small Mexican town suffocated by relentless heat and poverty. The setting feels like the cemetery of dreams - all dreams, whether they are of monetary success (the dentist) , revolutionary victory (the lieutenant) or redemption (priest) . The Father is a memorable character not in his role as the last priest to escape fatal persecution at the hands of the new government, but in his human frailty. In his own words he is not a martyr and is not trying to become one, but for all his vices and weaknesses, he is still trying to do good for his fellow men, deserving or not. He is also self aware and constantly struggling to reconcile his cowardice with his enduring belief in a higher power. I don't subscribe to any established religion myself (I prefer the term "humanist" to "atheist") , but I have always been interested in the role faith plays both in the individual development and in defining a culture at a certain moment in time. This book provided a lot of food for thought, and while it criticizes some of the most ill advised practices of catholicism (celibacy, greed, intransigence, the doctrine of suffering in this life for rewards in the next one) , it also brings out the best in some people - mercy, tolerance, empathy, selflessness. The book also contains one quote that I have long memorized, without putting it in the context of this particular story: Hate is a failure of the imagination If I have any criticism of the book, it will not be about the writing - Greene outdid himself here - but with a little anti-science sermon right by the end. I'm trying not to give spoilers, but it was a claim that miracles still happen today and scientists are refusing to acknowledge them. It felt for me unnecessary to the story so far and poorly argumented.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.