The Power and the Glory (Windsor Selections) Hardcover – Large Print, 4 Feb 1992
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|Hardcover, Large Print, 4 Feb 1992||
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"The most ingenious, inventive and exciting of our novelists, rich in exactly etched and moving portraits of real human beings" (V. S. Pritchett)
"The power and energy of his finest novel derive from the will toward compassion, and ideal communism even more Christian than Communism. Its unit is the individual, not any class" (John Updike)
"No serious writer of this century has more thoroughly invaded and shaped the public imagination than did Graham Greene" (The Times)
"Graham Greene had wit and grace and character and story and a transcendent universal compassion that places him for all time in the ranks of world literature" (John Le Carre)
"The Power Tnd The Glory's nameless whisky priest blends seamlessly with his tropical, crooked, anticlerical Mexico. Roman Catholicism is intrinsic to the character and terrain both; Greene's imaginative immersion in both is triumphant" (John Updike) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
'Graham Greene's masterpiece' John Updike --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
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The Power And The Glory is set in Mexico, in a region where Christianity has been banned and the Catholic population forced to continue their worship in secret. Priests are hunted down and those few who have not abandoned their flocks completely must hide away, travel in disguise and lead mass by night in barns without the traditional tools of their trade. Our hero is a sorry excuse for a priest. An alcoholic 'whiskey priest' who has fathered a child outside of marriage, he is also the last remaining free priest and we see the closing noose through his eyes as the authorities, aware of his continued religious practice, slowly get nearer and nearer.
I love Greene's sense of pace and how he managed to fluctuate tension keeping me nervously page-turning throughout. Although this novel is now seventy-five years old its language and writing didn't feel at all dated. Greene's detailed descriptions of the Mexican people and landscapes allow for vivid imaginings but never get bog down the story and we get to meet some wonderfully nuanced characters. There are powerful questions asked of the reader - if your beliefs were banned, would you quietly acquiesce or fight back? What human cost is too much? Should others pay on your behalf? - and these can be applied as much to ethical and social beliefs as to religious ones.
A world-weary sense of inevitability hangs around the edges of the book, especially as the 'whiskey priest' begins to tire of life on the run, and Greene seems to have perfectly understood the stress of his protagonist's situation. The Power And The Glory isn't an easy read and offers different levels of interest depending on how deeply the reader wants to engage with the story. It's certainly a story that kept me thinking for a long time after I had finished it.
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