- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 1063 KB
- Print Length: 484 pages
- Publisher: Penny Books (13 Jun. 2010)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B003V8BTUI
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #116,142 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Elmer Gantry Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
At a few points in the story Gantry is, momentarily and inexplicably, seized by genuine religious fervour, and even remorse for his misdeeds, but the rest of the time he is obsessed with using a religious career to gain money, fame and power, while he has a bit on the side - well several bits, actually. He is a bully, both physically and psychologically, and cleverly calculating when not ruled by his hormones. However, he is empty culturally as well as morally - as a listener to Gantry's radio programme observes, he "was blown out of a saxophone", i.e. he ends up as just another ephemeral feature of the Jazz Age. He often deceives even himself, rewriting his memory of an incident to portray his actions in a much better light than they deserve.
There are several characters in the novel with varying degrees and types of integrity, but the pessimistic message is that only the strong survive, whether bad or good. Repeatedly Lewis suggests that it is better to be an honest atheist than a hypocritical Christian.
One of the strengths of the book is the analysis of how Gantry's relationship with each of the major characters relates to his career, and how it affects each of them - in many cases, disastrously for them. Gantry is, essentially, a friendless user, and there are only two men with whom he ever feels real kinship; they are every bit as cynical as him, though they have somewhat more respect for mankind.
The love of his life, his infatuation with fellow-evangelist Sharon Falconer, is really a story within the story.Read more ›
Elmer succeeds in deluding himself that he is a true servant of God, at least some of the time. Oddly that makes him less of a hypocrite than some of the novel's most attractive characters who profess Christianity but are secretly atheist or agnostic. But their behaviour is consistently far more `Christian' than that of Elmer, who uses the most ruthless means to achieve his ends. The satire of the evangelical movement is effectively biting, particularly the portrait of the preacher Sharon Falconer. She is another strange character, more than a match for Elmer, a shrewd businesswoman, whose precise attitude towards the message she preaches remains curiously difficult to fathom.
The loosely episodic structure of the novel made it just a little rambling and repetitive at times - it's not quite such an artistic success as `Babbitt'. But it offers a fascinating depiction of early c.20 America - and much of Lewis's satire still has relevance today.
How Gantry comes to get sucked into theology school, and his failures and successes thereafter make for a highly readable work, that make one look at organised religion in a dubious manner. Elmer's attitude to the whole thing is well illustrated when he gets his first appointment:
'He'd show 'em!...Show 'em how he could build up church membership, build up the collections, get 'em all going with his eloquence - and of course, carry the message of salvation into darkened hearts. It would be mighty handy to have the extra ten a week - and maybe more if he could kid the Schoenheim deacons properly. His first church...his own...and Frank had to take his orders!'
Most Recent Customer Reviews
very simple. Still has not arrived in spite of contacting sellerPublished 3 months ago by terence moody
The book was tatty with yellow pages, I know it was used but it was not acceptable, I don't think I shall be reading the book it's too dirty and torn.Published on 5 Aug. 2014 by J M Sturdy
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