J.I.'s Reviews > The Power and the Glory

The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene
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's review
Aug 13, 2010

bookshelves: read-2010, to-read

This is a simple and a difficult book to read. Graham Greene, while an impeccably talented and smart writer, chooses to express himself clearly, not lingering overlong on descriptions or poetic type prose and yet managing to evoke breathtaking passages. Yet in this subtle elegance the story can become seemingly simplistic. It is the story of a priest who is a drunkard in his tenth year of evading the red shirts after they had make Catholicism a crime of treason and it is the story of the people that the priest encounters.

Yet this novel elevates itself very well above a simple plotline and it talks instead of good men and bad men and the inevitable variations within; it dismisses the concepts of perfection in men and absolute vileness and it unites these ideas with the conviction of belief and the temper of wisdom. Greene's priest is a sinner who often fails in his duty quite badly, but who is motivated, for all his terrible flaws, by goodness. The priests pursuer is a good man who is honest and hardworking and who wishes to give a future to the children of his country that is bereft of corruption and lies. A less talented writer would simply make a protagonist and antagonist and make them duel, but what is at stake here is not a simple plot, it is the idea of belief and of goodness.

It is the type of novel that I feel flabergasted by when I have finished; overwhelmed with its grace and its power. Truly, it is one of the better books of the century.

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