I really liked this installment of Russell/Holmes. It's different in that we get to explore Mary's past in San Francisco, and it's also unique in thatI really liked this installment of Russell/Holmes. It's different in that we get to explore Mary's past in San Francisco, and it's also unique in that we flip back and forth between Mary's first person narration and Holmes' third person narration. Russell's family has been hinted at in past books, but now we understand Mary's tumultuous childhood and that the death of her parents might not have been accidental--something for which Mary has always blamed herself. An excellent installment. ...more
If you are familiar with Gilbert and Sullivan (more than I am--my only knowledge of them is from West Wing quotes--"It's the one about honor!" "They'rIf you are familiar with Gilbert and Sullivan (more than I am--my only knowledge of them is from West Wing quotes--"It's the one about honor!" "They're all about honor!"), then you'll probably like this more than I did. I don't really know much about them and I haven't seen The Pirates of Penzance, which figures prominently into this story. But time with Russell and Holmes (disguised this time as a Major-General!) is always well-spent. ...more
(This is a lot longer than most of my reviews!) This is definitely a book that lends itself well to thinking. I read it slowly, which is rare for me, o(This is a lot longer than most of my reviews!) This is definitely a book that lends itself well to thinking. I read it slowly, which is rare for me, over a period of time, so that I was really absorbing it and not missing anything.
A lot of people in the reviews of the movie Silence have compared Rodrigues to Judas. I didn't sense that. I thought of Rodrigues as more like Peter: He makes a mistake in betraying His Lord, and he repents of it and feels it for the rest of his life. One of the things that makes it hard to get a sense of Rodrigues is that the second half of the book is told in third person narration, and the very end of the book is told in diary entries. So it's hard to tell how Rodrigues felt after the apostasy. But I definitely got the feeling that he didn't *want* to do what he did, and he did it to save the three people in the pit.
Now, whether or not that was correct--it's what he did. I think some Christians get on their high horse (also like Peter) and say, oh, we'd never betray Jesus if the chips were down! I understood Rodrigues' dilemma. He didn't WANT to do it. He wanted to be brave. But he also couldn't bear to think that innocent people were suffering because he wouldn't step on the fumie.
But I can also see it from the side of the parishioners. As a Catholic, I want strong priests. I want them to defend their flock and lead us in the right way. I would be heartbroken if I saw a priest do this, even if he was doing it to save my life, because he's a priest. He's given his entire life to God. Personally I'd rather have his prayers.
I kept thinking of the line in the Gospels where Jesus says to fear those who can kill the soul not the body. That seemed particularly relevant here.
It's beautifully written. I didn't find the descriptions of torture all that graphic, but maybe that's just me. It was very matter-of-fact, not with gruesome details.
Is it a book that deals with a hard topic? Yes. Is it a "bad" book because of what the priest ends up doing? I don't think so. ...more