Title: The Power and the Glory
Author: Graham Greene
The Power and the Glory is a Catholic Novel by Graham Greene. The novel is based in the Mexican state in 1930s- the time when the Catholic Church was being suppressed by the government.We have an unnamed priest, whom Greene calls the whisky priest, who is trying to escape from the clutches of law, in an area where Catholicism has been outlawed.
The novel was written after Greene’s visit to Mexico in 1938 for his research on the persecution of the Catholic Church in Mexico.
About the Author
Graham Greene was one of the greatest English Novelists of the 20th century. Having earned widespread popularity & a lot of critical acclaim, Greene is known for his thriller & serious catholic novels. In the career span of 67 years, Greene has written over 25 novels. A recipient of several awards, Greene was also shortlisted for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1967.
Let us join the whisky priest in his escapes
The novel begins with the whisky priest entering a town in which Catholicism has been outlawed. Most of the priests have given up their faith. They have been forced to marry. The Whisky Priest happens to be the only one left in the country.
From the very first chapter, begins a journey of the priest- which, I’d rather say, is a journey of Catholicism. The readers witness a race- a race of the religion & faith against the law. The whisky priest stands on one side, while the Lieutenant stands against him. The chief of the police wants the lieutenant & his men to catch the priest before the monsoon arrives. Equally determined, on the the other side, is the whisky priest who wants to cross the border before the monsoon.
The whisky priest is not the only one who is on run. Also sharing space on the police station’s notice board, along with the whisky priest is a gringo- a murderer. This murderer has an important role to play at the end.
Though the main plot is concerned with the priest only, we’ve a few sub plots too. There are a number of other characters who have their own track, although linked with the main track in one or the other way.
The whisky priest moves from one town to other, while carrying the burden of a mortal sin- a sin that he has started loving. So, what’s the sin that has tainted his soul? Does he succeed in keeping Catholicism alive? Well, you certainly need to read the book to know what lies ahead. One thing that I can guarantee is that the ending is the most beautiful part of the novel.
As I said earlier, the ending is the most beautiful part of the novel. But the first half of the novel is rather confusing. This is what I feel. I literally struggled to go through the first few chapters. After having formed a blurred image, I had to re-read those chapters to get a clearer picture. The writing, thus, seemed to be a bit complex. To add to my difficulty, almost every other paragraph had a word that was alien to my vocabulary.
As I moved to the other half of the text, not only the writing but the track too became gripping. The priest is an interesting character to read about. His is a multi-layered personality having several shades. He is one of his kind. Padre Jose, a priest who has given up priesthood and is now married, is also a fascinating character.
The novel also introduces the readers to a number of Christian terms. It is written with an omniscient point of view. Greene has written the novel in 5 parts. Each is like one episode of a series. I cant help from mentioning the climax once again. The climax holds a surprise for the readers that asserts that the power and the glory of the religion outlives secularism.
I’ll recommend it to all those who are ready to struggle through the first few chapters. Though I might be the only one to struggle, but trust me the ending will pay for it. Go for it.
My Rating: **** (4/5)
What do you feel about the book? Have you read any other book by Graham Greene? Is there any title that came to your mind while reading the review? Do share your thoughts. Thanks.
P.S. I read the text in my tablet after downloading it from some internet site. (The text shows en8488.com.cn.) I do not own the physical copy of the book. Hence, I have not provided any kind of publication details. Source of pictures: Internet.