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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Power and the Glory

An old friend of mine had told me that I should read Graham Greene at some point. We are not in contact anymore, nor friends, but I did finally get around to read one of Greene's books. The Power and the Glory tells the story of a priest on the run in a Mexican province after a socialist uprising has razed all the churches and killed or corrupted all priests. The last remaining 'whiskey priest' devoid of any adherence to Catholic decorum and dependent on brandy constantly keeps on the move trying to avoid a ruthless, if morally sound, Lieutnant trying to serve his people by killing the religion still living within their midst.

Greene portrays this particular Mexican province as a desperate and desolate place and he does a great job describing a variety of stock characters most of whom are not deeply explored even while Greene offers a powerful portrait of them. The pious mother trying to instill religion into their children, her critical son, the poor and hypocritical Judas, the alcoholic Brit trying to leave, the atheist German happy on his farm. I cannot say that the story enthralled me per se, but I did eat up the people populating it. Maybe this was due to the philosophical or political questions touched upon in the book, religion and the state and the people, simply not being of any significant interest to me. I'll read another of his book and I can recommend him, but reading the book with the high expectations I had, I couldn't help but being slightly disappointed.

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