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Black Robe (Paladin Books) [Paperback]

Brian Moore
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

4 Oct 2010 Paladin Books
To Father Paul, the Algonkian Indians are pagans in need of salvation. To the Indians, Catholic priests are greedy and selfish. Accompanying Father Paul on his mission to relieve a priest in danger of his life, Daniel is torn between the need to serve God and the power of the Indian way of life.

Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Flamingo; (Reissue) edition (4 Oct 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0586086153
  • ISBN-13: 978-0586086155
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 12.8 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 390,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Brian Moore, whom Graham Greene called his ‘favourite living novelist’, was born in Belfast in 1921. He emigrated to Canada in 1948, where he became a journalist and adopted Canadian citizenship. He spent some time in New York before settling in California.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding 8 Feb 2006
I don't like all Brian Moore's books, but one thing is certain, his range is astonishing, and after reading Black Robe I became his totally starry-eyed fan.
It is a most unusual story, set in Canada, when the country was being settled by europeans, in the case of the east coast, mainly french.
However Moore got his facts about these dark times, I didn't care if they were true or fiction. The very human Jesuit priest that sets out into the wilderness to convert the "natives" encounters not only discomfort, danger and unspeakable horrors, but his own dark self.
I entered entirely into this world, as if I'd been there myself, which is a feat for any writer. For a most absorbing and unique experience, read this novel.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Culture Shock 11 April 2010
By J C E Hitchcock TOP 1000 REVIEWER
The action of "Black Robe" takes place in the year 1635 in what is today the Canadian province of Quebec, but which at that period formed part of the French colony of New France. It follows the journey of Father Paul Laforgue, a French Jesuit priest, who travels to an isolated mission station among the Huron Indians. Accompanying him are his young lay assistant, Daniel Davost, whose main reason for undertaking the journey is that he has fallen in love with an Indian girl, and a group of
Algonkin Indians who act as their guides.

The novel is on one level a historical adventure story, but it can also be seen as a study of cultural differences. The French see the Indians as cruel and barbaric and generally refer to them as the Savages. (This is Brian Moore's rendition of the French term "les Sauvages", although he does not point out that this might also be translated as "the wild ones"; the French word "sauvage", unlike the English "savage", does not necessarily carry any implication of ferocity or viciousness). The Indians see the French as greedy and selfish because of their love of possessions and their reluctance to share what they have with others. The greatest cultural differences, however, lie in the area of religion. To the predominantly Catholic French, the spiritual beliefs of the native peoples are no more than primitive superstitions inspired by Satan. The Indians, however, see the French as stupid and ignorant because of their lack of understanding of a key element of the Indian belief system, namely that animals, plants and even inanimate objects such as rocks and rivers all have spirits of their own. They are particularly suspicious of Catholic priests (or "Black Robes") whom they see as sorcerers.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mixed emotions 13 July 2006
By bebe
I read this book for a course on Canadian literature and was very, very unsettled by it. I read 'Black Robe' in one sitting - it was that compelling - but on the other hand certain passages made me feel physically sick. Fascinating, if in parts repulsive. Highly recommended.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent storytelling by a master 9 May 2002
By A Customer
I must confess that in Moore's books I rediscovered the joy of reading after years of forcing myself through dire arty tomes. In "Black Robe" his storytelling genius is as spellbinding as ever. Not a word is wasted and it is a thrilling journey, yet he avoids the cliches of more popular (and much less intelligent) writers. Sometimes his magic touch falters - perhaps once or twice - but this is almost a good thing as the few flaws enable us to appreciate the skill of this gifted writer. The themes of religion, the clash of cultures, "civilisation" versus native cultures have all been dealt with before, but, amazingly you can never tell what will happen next. Without making anything feel contrived, and despite so many traditional writers preceding him, Moore proves a good, intelligent and surprising story - with power and depth despite its surface simplicity - can still be written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clash of Cultures 16 Nov 2009
Black Robe covers a period and place in history rarely covered. Compelling and well written, it is not afraid to cover the excesses and the more unpleasent aspects of both European and North American (Canadian) indigenous cultures. Its handling of such aspects, in a frank and "no holds barred" manner, is quite refreshing, but can certainly be unsettling to the faint-hearted.
All in all a gripping and exciting tale, mixing history with an interesting insight into what happens when conflicting cultures meet head-on.
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