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The Power And The Glory
by Grace Macgowan Cooke, Illust. By Arthur Ignatius Keller
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How does good spoil, and how can bad be redeemed? In his penetrating novel The Power and the Glory, Graham Greene explores corruption and atonement through a priest and the people he encounters. In the 1930s one Mexican state has outlawed the Church, naming it a source of greed and debauchery. The priests have been rounded up and shot by firing squad--save one, the whisky priest. On the run, and in a blur of alcohol and fear, this outlaw meets a dentist, a banana farmer, and a village woman he knew six years earlier. For a while, he is accompanied by a toothless man--whom he refers to as his Judas and does his best to ditch. Always, an adamant lieutenant is only a few hours behind, determined to liberate his country from the evils of the church.
On the verge of reaching a safer region, the whisky priest is repeatedly held back by his vocation, even though he no longer feels fit to perform his rites: "When he was gone it would be as if God in all this space between the sea and the 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?"
As his sins and dangers increase, the broken priest comes to confront the nature of piety and love. Still, when he is granted a reprieve, he feels himself sliding into the old arrogance, slipping it on like the black gloves he used to wear. Greene has drawn this man--and all he encounters--vividly and viscerally. He may have said The Power and the Glory was "written to a thesis," but this brilliant theological thriller has far more mysteries--and troubling ideals--than certainties. --Joannie Kervran Stangeland
Graham Greene's novel follows a priest in his flight from authorities who are trying to eradicate the Catholic church in a Mexican state. Andrew Sachs gives thoughtful voice to the priest's inner life, effectively conveying his gentle, innocent nature; his guilt over both his flight and his past sins; and his fear of death. The tension of his long flight and the irony throughout the novel are captured in Sachs's reading. The priest's spoken voice, as well as most of the minor voices, is also handled well. One sour note is the clichéd voice given to the mestizo who travels with the priest; he's too reminiscent of Sachs's slapstick Manuel from TV's "Faulty Towers." J.A.S. (c) AudioFile 2000, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
?Greene?s masterpiece.? ?John Updike
?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 Carré
In a poor, remote section of southern Mexico, the Red Shirts have taken control. God has been outlawed, and the priests have been systematically hunted down and killed. Now, the last priest strives to overcome physical and moral cowardice in order to find redemption.
Introduction by John Updike
The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
Novel by Graham Greene, published in 1940. Set in Mexico during the era of anticlerical violence by revolutionaries, the story depicts the martyrdom of the last Roman Catholic priest, who is being hunted by a police lieutenant. The "whisky priest" is a degraded alcoholic who has broken most of his vows but who nevertheless insists upon performing his duties until the very end, when he is finally captured and executed. The book is a Christian parable, pitting God and religion against 20th-century materialism.
Inside Flap Copy
Winner of the Hawthornden Prize.
During a vicious persecution of the clergy in Mexico, the ?whisky priest? is on the run and the police are closing in. But compassion and humanity impel him toward his destiny.
From the Back Cover
“Greene’s masterpiece.” –John Updike
“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 Carré
About the Author
Graham Greene (1904-1991), author of many novels, short stories, travel books, plays, and memoirs, was one of the twentieth century's greatest writers. J
John Updike author of Rabbit, Run and other celebrated works, is a preeminent American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet.
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