The Power and the Glory

The Power and the Glory

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Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781440702457
Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date: 03/15/2004
Product dimensions: 4.25(w) x 2.75(h) x 6.30(d)

About the Author

GRAHAM GREENE (1904-1991), whose long life nearly spanned the length of the twentieth century, was one of its greatest novelists. Educated at Berkhamsted School and Balliol College, Oxford, he started his career as a sub-editor of the London Times. He began to attract notice as a novelist with his fourth book, Orient Express, in 1932. In 1935, he trekked across northern Liberia, his first experience in Africa, told in A Journey Without Maps (1936). He converted to Catholicism in 1926, an edifying decision, and reported on religious persecution in Mexico in 1938 in The Lawless Roads, which served as a background for his famous The Power and the Glory, one of several “Catholic” novels (Brighton Rock, The Heart of the Matter, The End of the Affair). During the war he worked for the British secret service in Sierra Leone; afterward, he began wide-ranging travels as a journalist, which were reflected in novels such as The Quiet American, Our Man in Havana, The Comedians, Travels with My Aunt, The Honorary Consul, The Human Factor, Monsignor Quixote, and The Captain and the Enemy. As well as his many novels, Graham Greene wrote several collections of short stories, four travel books, six plays, two books of autobiography, A Sort of Life and Ways of Escape, two biographies, and four books for children. He also contributed hundreds of essays and film and book reviews to The Spectator and other journals, many of which appear in the late collection Reflections. Most of his novels have been filmed, including The Third Man, which the author first wrote as a film treatment. Graham Greene was named Companion of Honour and received the Order of Merit among numerous other awards.

JOHN UPDIKE (1932-2009) was the author of more than sixty books, including collections of short stories, poems, and criticism. His novels have been honored with the Pulitzer Prize (twice), the National Book Award, and the Howells Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Hugging the Shore, an earlier collection of essays and reviews, received the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism. He died in January 2009.

Date of Birth:

October 2, 1904

Date of Death:

April 3, 1991

Place of Birth:

Berkhamsted, England

Place of Death:

Vevey, Switzerland

Education:

Balliol College, Oxford

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

THE PORT

Mr Tench went out to look for his ether cylinder, into the blazing Mexican sun and the bleaching dust. A few vultures looked down from the roof with shabby indifference: he wasn't carrion yet. A faint feeling of rebellion stirred in Mr Tench's heart, and he wrenched up a piece of the road with splintering finger-nails and tossed it feebly towards them. One rose and flapped across the town: over the tiny plaza, over the bust of an ex-president, ex-general, ex-human being, over the two stalls which sold mineral water, towards the river and the sea. It wouldn't find anything there: the sharks looked after the carrion on that side. Mr Tench went on across the plaza.

He said 'Buenos dias' to a man with a gun who sat in a small patch of shade against a wall. But it wasn't like England: the man said nothing at all, just stared malevolently up at Mr Tench, as if he had never had any dealings with the foreigner, as if Mr Tench were not responsible for his two gold bicuspid teeth. Mr Tench went sweating by, past the Treasury which had once been a church, towards the quay. Half-way across he suddenly forgot what he had come out for — a glass of mineral water? That was all there was to drink in this prohibition state — except beer, but that was a government monopoly and too expensive except on special occasions. An awful feeling of nausea gripped Mr Tench in the stomach — it couldn't have been mineral water he wanted. Of course his ether cylinder ... the boat was in. He had heard its exultant piping while he lay on his bed after lunch. He passed the barbers' and two dentists' and came out between a warehouse and the customs on to the river bank.

The river went heavily by towards the sea between the banana plantations; the General Obregon was tied up to the bank, and beer was being unloaded — a hundred cases were already stacked upon the quay. Mr Tench stood in the shade of the customs house and thought: what am I here for? Memory drained out of him in the heat. He gathered his bile together and spat forlornly into the sun. Then he sat down on a case and waited. Nothing to do. Nobody would come to see him before five.

The General Obregon was about thirty yards long. A few feet of damaged rail, one lifeboat, a bell hanging on a rotten cord, an oil-lamp in the bow, she looked as if she might weather two or three more Atlantic years, if she didn't strike a Norther in the gulf. That, of course, would be the end of her. It didn't really matter: everybody was insured when he bought a ticket, automatically. Half a dozen passengers leant on the rail, among the hobbled turkeys, and stared at the port, the warehouse, the empty baked street with the dentists and the barbers.

Mr Tench heard a revolver holster creak just behind him and turned his head. A customs officer was watching him angrily. He said something which Mr Tench did not catch. 'Pardon me,' Mr Tench said.

'My teeth,' the customs man said indistinctly.

'Oh,' Mr Tench said, 'yes, your teeth.' The man had none: that was why he couldn't talk clearly. Mr Tench had removed them all. He was shaken with nausea — something was wrong — worms, dysentery ... He said, 'The set is nearly finished. Tonight,' he promised wildly. It was, of course, quite impossible; but that was how one lived, putting off everything. The man was satisfied: he might forget, and in any case what could he do? He had paid in advance. That was the whole world to Mr Tench: the heat and the forgetting, the putting off till tomorrow, if possible cash down — for what? He stared out over the slow river: the fin of a shark moved like a periscope at the river's mouth. In the course of years several ships had stranded and they now helped to prop up the bank, the smoke-stacks leaning over like guns pointing at some distant objective across the banana trees and the swamps.

Mr Tench thought: ether cylinder: I nearly forgot. His mouth fell open and he began moodily to count the bottles of Cerveza Moctezuma. A hundred and forty cases. Twelve times a hundred and forty: the heavy phlegm gathered in his mouth: twelve fours are forty-eight. He said aloud in English, 'My God, a pretty one': twelve hundred, sixteen hundred and eighty: he spat, staring with vague interest at a girl in the bows of the General Obregon — a fine thin figure, they were generally so thick, brown eyes, of course, and the inevitable gleam of the gold tooth, but something fresh and young. ... Sixteen hundred and eighty bottles at a peso a bottle.

Somebody whispered in English, 'What did you say?'

Mr Tench swivelled round. 'You English?' he asked in astonishment, but at the sight of the round and hollow face charred with a three-days' beard, he altered his question: 'You speak English?'

Yes, the man said, he spoke a little English. He stood stiffly in the shade, a small man dressed in a shabby dark city suit, carrying a small attaché case. He had a novel under his arm: bits of an amorous scene stuck out, crudely coloured. He said, 'Excuse me. I thought just now you were talking to me.' He had protuberant eyes; he gave an impression of unstable hilarity, as if perhaps he had been celebrating a birthday, alone.

Mr Tench cleared his mouth of phlegm. 'What did I say?' He couldn't remember a thing.

'You said my God a pretty one.'

'Now what could I have meant by that?' He stared up at the merciless sky. A vulture hung there, an observer. 'What? Oh just the girl I suppose. You don't often see a pretty piece round here. Just one or two a year worth looking at.'

'She is very young.'

'Oh, I don't have intentions,' Mr Tench said wearily. 'A man may look. I've lived alone for fifteen years.'

'Here?'

'Hereabouts.'

They fell silent and time passed, the shadow of the customs house shifted a few inches farther towards the river: the vulture moved a little, like the black hand of a clock.

'You came in her?' Mr Tench asked.

'No.'

'Going in her?'

The little man seemed to evade the question, but then as if some explanation were required: 'I was just looking,' he said. 'I suppose she'll be sailing quite soon?'

'To Vera Cruz,' Mr Tench said. 'In a few hours.'

'Without calling anywhere?'

'Where could she call?' He asked, 'How did you get here?'

The stranger said vaguely, 'A canoe.'

'Got a plantation, eh?'

'No.'

'It's good hearing English spoken,' Mr Tench said. 'Now you learnt yours in the States?'

The man agreed. He wasn't very garrulous.

'Ah, what wouldn't I give,' Mr Tench said, 'to be there now.' He said in a low anxious voice, 'You don't happen, do you, to have a drink in that case of yours? Some of you people back there — I've known one or two — a little for medical purposes.'

'Only medicine,' the man said.

'You a doctor?'

The bloodshot eyes looked slyly out of their corners at Mr Tench. 'You would call me perhaps a — quack?'

'Patent medicines? Live and let live,' Mr Tench said.

'Are you sailing?'

'No, I came down here for — ... oh well, it doesn't matter anyway.' He put his hand on his stomach and said, 'You haven't got any medicine, have you, for — oh hell. I don't know what. It's just this bloody land. You can't cure me of that. No one can.'

'You want to go home?'

'Home,' Mr Tench said, 'my home's here. Did you see what the peso stands at in Mexico City? Four to the dollar. Four. O God. Ora pro nobis.'

'Are you a Catholic?'

'No, no. Just an expression. I don't believe in anything like that.' He said irrelevantly, 'It's too hot anyway.'

'I think I must find somewhere to sit.'

'Come up to my place,' Mr Tench said. 'I've got a spare hammock. The boat won't leave for hours — if you want to watch it go.'

The stranger said, 'I was expecting to see someone. The name was Lopez.'

'Oh, they shot him weeks ago,' Mr Tench said.

'Dead?'

'You know how it is round here. Friend of yours?'

'No, no,' the man protested hurriedly. 'Just a friend of a friend.'

'Well, that's how it is,' Mr Tench said. He brought up his bile again and spat it out into the hard sunlight. 'They say he used to help ... oh, undesirables ... well, to get out. His girl's living with the Chief of Police now.'

'His girl? Do you mean his daughter?'

'He wasn't married. I mean the girl he lived with.' Mr Tench was momentarily surprised by an expression on the stranger's face. He said again, 'You know how it is.' He looked across at the General Obregon. 'She's a pretty bit. Of course, in two years she'll be like all the rest. Fat and stupid. O God, I'd like a drink. Ora pro nobis.'

'I have a little brandy,' the stranger said.

Mr Tench regarded him sharply. 'Where?'

The hollow man put his hand to his hip — he might have been indicating the source of his odd nervous hilarity. Mr Tench seized his wrist. 'Careful,' he said. 'Not here.' He looked down the carpet of shadow: a sentry sat on an empty crate asleep beside his rifle. 'Come to my place,' Mr Tench said.

'I meant,' the little man said reluctantly, 'just to see her go.'

'Oh, it will be hours yet,' Mr Tench assured him again.

'Hours? Are you certain? It's very hot in the sun.'

'You'd better come home.'

Home: it was a phrase one used to mean four walls behind which one slept. There had never been a home. They moved across the little burnt plaza where the dead General grew green in the damp and the gaseosa stalls stood under the palms. Home lay like a picture postcard on a pile of other postcards: shuffle the pack and you had Nottingham, a Metroland birthplace, an interlude in Southend. Mr Tench's father had been a dentist too — his first memory was finding a discarded cast in a wastepaper basket — the rough toothless gaping mouth of clay, like something dug up in Dorset — Neanderthal or Pithecanthropus. It had been his favourite toy: they tried to tempt him with Meccano, but fate had struck. There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in. The hot wet river-port and the vultures lay in the wastepaper basket, and he picked them out. We should be thankful we cannot see the horrors and degradations lying around our childhood, in cupboards and bookshelves, everywhere.

There was no paving; during the rains the village (it was really no more) slipped into the mud. Now the ground was hard under the feet like stone. The two men walked in silence past barbers' shops and dentists'; the vultures on the roofs looked contented, like domestic fowls: they searched under wide dusty wings for parasites. Mr Tench said, 'Excuse me,' Stopping at a little wooden hut, one storey high, with a veranda where a hammock swung. The hut was a little larger than the others in the narrow street which petered out two hundred yards away in swamp. He said, nervously, 'Would you like to take a look around? I don't want to boast, but I'm the best dentist here. It's not a bad place. As places go.' Pride wavered in his voice like a plant with shallow roots.

He led the way inside, locking the door behind him, through à dining-room where two rocking-chairs stood on either side of a bare table: an oil lamp, some copies of old American papers, a cupboard. He said, 'I'll get the glasses out, but first I'd like to show you — you're an educated man ...' The dentist's operating-room looked out on a yard where a few turkeys moved with shabby nervous pomp: a drill which worked with a pedal, a dentist's chair gaudy in bright red plush, a glass cupboard in which instruments were dustily jumbled. A forceps stood in a cup, a broken spirit-lamp was pushed into a corner, and gags of cotton-wool lay on all the shelves.

'Very fine,' the stranger commented.

'It's not so bad, is it,' Mr Tench said, 'for this town. You can't imagine the difficulties. That drill,' he continued bitterly, 'is made in Japan. I've only had it a month and it's wearing out already. But I can't afford American drills.'

'The window,' the stranger said, 'is very beautiful.'

One pane of stained glass had been let in: a Madonna gazed out through the mosquito wire at the turkeys in the yard. 'I got it,' Mr Tench said, 'when they sacked the church. It didn't feel right — a dentist's room without some stained glass. Not civilized. At home — I mean in England — it was generally the Laughing Cavalier — I don't know why — or else a Tudor rose. But one can't pick and choose.'

He opened another door and said, 'My workroom.' The first thing one saw was a bed under a mosquito tent. Mr Tench said, 'You understand — I'm pressed for room.' A ewer and basin stood at one end of a carpenter's bench, and a soap-dish: at the other a blow-pipe, a tray of sand, pliers, a little furnace. 'I cast in sand,' Mr Tench said. 'What else can I do in this place?' He picked up the case of a lower jaw. 'You can't always get them accurate,' he said. 'Of course, they complain.' He laid it down, and nodded at another object on the bench — something stringy and intestinal in appearance, with two little bladders of rubber. 'Congenital fissure,' he said. 'It's the first time I've tried. The Kingsley cast. I doubt if I can do it. But a man must try to keep abreast of things.' His mouth fell open: the look of vacancy returned: the heat in the small room was overpowering. He stood there like a man lost in a cavern among the fossils and instruments of an age of which he knows very little. The stranger said, 'If we could sit down ...'

Mr Tench stared at him blankly.

'We could open the brandy.'

'Oh yes, the brandy.'

Mr Tench got two glasses out of a cupboard under the bench, and wiped off traces of sand. Then they went and sat in rocking-chairs in the front room. Mr Tench poured out.

'Water?' the stranger asked.

'You can't trust the water,' Mr Tench said. 'It's got me here.' He put his hand on his stomach and took a long draught. 'You don't look too well yourself,' he said. He took a longer look. 'Your teeth.' One canine had gone, and the front teeth were yellow with tartar and carious. He said, 'You want to pay attention to them.'

'What is the good?' the stranger said. He held a small spot of brandy in his glass warily — as if it was an animal to which he gave shelter, but not trust. He had the air, in his hollowness and neglect, of somebody of no account who had been beaten up incidentally, by ill-health or restlessness. He sat on the very edge of the rocking-chair, with his small attaché case balanced on his knee and the brandy staved off with guilty affection.

'Drink up,' Mr Tench encouraged him (it wasn't his brandy). 'It will do you good.' The man's dark suit and sloping shoulders reminded him uncomfortably of a coffin, and death was in his carious mouth already. Mr Tench poured himself out another glass. He said, 'It gets lonely here. It's good to talk English, even to a foreigner. I wonder if you'd like to see a picture of my kids.' He drew a yellow snapshot out of his note-case and handed it over. Two small children struggled over the handle of a watering-can in a back garden. 'Of course,' he said, 'that was sixteen years ago.'

'They are young men now.'

'One died.'

'Oh, well,' the other replied gently, 'in a Christian country.' He took a gulp of his brandy and smiled at Mr Tench rather foolishly.

'Yes, I suppose so,' Mr Tench said with surprise. He got rid of his phlegm and said, 'It doesn't seem to me, of course, to matter much.' He fell silent, his thoughts ambling away; his mouth fell open, he looked grey and vacant, until he was recalled by a pain in the stomach and helped himself to some more brandy. 'Let me see. What was it we were talking about? The kids ... oh yes, the kids. It's funny what a man remembers. You know, I can remember that watering-can better than I can remember the kids. It cost three and elevenpence three farthings, green; I could lead you to the shop where I bought it. But as for the kids,' he brooded over his glass into the past, 'I can't remember much else but them crying.'

'Do you get news?'

'Oh, I gave up writing before I came here. What was the use? I couldn't send any money. It wouldn't surprise me if the wife had married again. Her mother would like it — the old sour bitch: she never cared for me.'

The stranger said in a low voice, 'It is awful.'

Mr Tench examined his companion again with surprise. He sat there like a black question mark, ready to go, ready to stay, poised on his chair. He looked disreputable in his grey three-days' beard, and weak: somebody you could command to do anything. He said, 'I mean the world. The way things happen.'

'Drink up your brandy.'

He sipped at it. It was like an indulgence. He said, 'You remember this place before — before the Red Shirts came?'

'I suppose I do.'

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "The Power and the Glory"
by .
Copyright © 1971 Graham Greene Estate.
Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

Scott Turow

But I had no question when I read, and then repeatedly re-read, The Power and the Glory, that it was a book I would have simply died to write.

From the Publisher

“Brilliant . . . a splendid achievement.” —The Atlantic Monthly

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The Power and the Glory 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Power and the Glory by Graham Green presents a fascinating and unique interpretation of religion and how it affects human nature. The most striking image presented by this interpretation is the lead character, a whisky priest with a bastard child. He stands as a paradoxical figure within himself, a highly respected official distributing confessions and baptisms to the locals, yet he is flawed inside and out grappling with his faith and to what purpose he serves. However, Green did not write this novel purely to state that priests are humans too, flawed just as they rest of us. Instead, the novel reaches deeper as if religion in its traditional, most rigid form pulls down a veil over our eyes. These poverty-stricken desperate individuals living under an oppressive Mexican government look to an equally desperate man whose only concern is his own fruitless survival. They are blind, still governed by the ways of a meaningless, irrelevant church. In the end, as the whiskey priest is finally hunted down by the authorities, he dies suddenly and without purpose or meaning. Green brilliantly contrasts his death with a mother reading to her children of the mightiest and most noble of God's followers dying triumphantly in a blaze of glory. There is no heroic battle, no glory and ultimately no power. He is simply a man and nothing more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had no idea about this book until I had to read in my Honors Lit. class. The chapters are set up to where you have to keep going to remember the plot. You have to keep reading. The story is wonderful and I suggest you read it in about two days because of the story setup. This is a book worth reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was interesting.It teaches a good leeson about faith and love.In a state in Mexico,the church is outlawed.The priest has to run like a criminal.In fact a bandit who killed policemen a was hunted less than him.Although the priest is a good man,his conscience can not let him forget about his past sins.His guilt lead him to deticate his life to the church untill his death.Even though the church was a aware of his past sins,they still declared him a saint.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is my all time favorite book and really conveys a wonderful message about the judgements of others and the inability to attain perfection - regardless of one's role in life. The priest in this story is one of the most well developed characters of any book I've read, and forces the reader to bestow compassion towards his plea. This novel helped me re-consider the judgements I once so commonly made about people... the author takes you inside the mind of a percieved saint and allows you to realize that he too struggles with internal conflicts.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i had to read this book for my ap lit class recently, and like the headline says, i actually enjoyed it. even though i'm not catholic (to tell the truth, i'm not even mildly religious at all) i enjoyed the book. halfway through, i even wished i knew more about the bible so that i could gain more from graham greene's book. i'm grateful to my teacher for having chosen this book to read. i'd say he has pretty good taste.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The story of a man who is the truest saint and the truest sinner at the same time. A profound perspective on faith and grace and human nature. It also exposes (weaved into the story) a little known episode of Mexican History in which Catholics were actually persecuted for their faith. Many shouted as they were executed, 'Long live Christ the King!' I recommend this book for anyone, religious or not. This interesting story helped me understand human nature better. I can't wait to read another of Greene's books! (Although I'm afraid they may not measure up to this one).
gwendolyndawson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A priest flees from the authorities (headed by "the lieutenant") who are trying to eradicate the Catholic church in a Mexican state. A story of redemption and the underlying good of humanity in the face of relentless oppression. A remarkable book for its style, its symbolism, and its near-perfect construction.
jamguest on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Loved it. The whiskey priest. On the run from Mexican authorities. Great prose and technique. Good plot and filled with quibbles on theology. I always love that. Well-written, and if I appreciated nothing else I appreciate a well written story.
Mromano on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The power and the glory is slow reading at first but it is one of those books that continues to mount surprises and suspense until you are left at the end with a feeling that you have completed a great work. Easily one of the top novels of the last 100 years and certainly Greene's best work. The fact that Greene did not win the nobel prize (while many lesser artists have) is a bitter reflection of the politics in the nominating and selection process.
grheault on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Well, its Mexico. Chiapas, or therabouts. Its 1938, or thereabouts, and its dangerous to be a priest, and the main character is indeed a priest on the run. Deeply depressing book, but gripping, and graphic with that spaghetti western tone to it. Oddly reminiscent of Death Comes for the Archbishop, in focusing on the flawed, conflicted man-of-god, ministering to the people, in all the rote ways. The institutional Church is absent, except for the remnant priests, who are humiliated or hunted, and the continuing sacramental grip the ritual Church holds on the minds and hearts of older peasants. Greene draws out the the classic contradictions of the Church : its alliance with the rich, yet its message of the good of suffering and hope in the hereafter to the poor. He draws out the contradictions in the secular, revolutionary, anti-Church authorities who purport to ally with the poor, yet rob them of the rituals of religion and whatever consolations it might bring. Disturbing book.
Sandydog1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wow. As an ex-Catholic, an afficienado of 20th century Mexican history, a lover of wine (uhm, Brandy - not so much), I was enthralled with this book. It was at least as good as The Quiet American; perhaps it was even better. 'Chock full of guilt, humanity, sin, alcoholism, greed, lust, righteousness, ideology, betrayal, redemption, attempts at redemption, blind loyalty, harshness, innocence, suffering.
soylentgreen23 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Graham Greene is always good for some entertainment, but here he has devised a very powerful story of the church and the state, and of the individual's weakness as strength. The quality of the writing is beyond reproach - the way characters are drawn and introduced made me think that it has become something of a lost art.
baswood on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
By the time The Power and the Glory was published in 1940, Greene had eschewed his flirtations with modernism and had turned back to writing in a clear narrative style, intent on creating memorable characters and tackling some of the most contentious issues of his generation. Perhaps the overriding theme here is the indomnitable human spirit. Europe was at war and for many people suffering and death were becoming a part of daily life. Greene takes an unnamed catholic priest as his anti-hero; a priest who gives in to most forms of temptation including the cardinal sin of Pride, and yet by the choices he makes and despite himself he achieves some sort of dignity and even redemption in our eyes. The novel is by no means a paean to the catholic church, in fact Greene is continuously critical of it and its ministers throughout, but he does suggest it offers hope in times of oppression.Greene was commissioned to visit Mexico in 1938 to report on the religious persecution being enacted there and this provides the subject matter for the novel. A catholic priest is being hunted down by a fanatical lieutenant, who sincerely believes that the state will benefit by his elimination. Most of the priests have fled and so this last one (the whiskey priest) has become a bit of a cause celeb-re, who may or may not escape his fate if he makes it across the border.Greene's visit to Mexico cannot have been a particularly enlightening experience for him because from the very first sentence the reader is plunged into a night mare world of filth, heat and deprivation:"Mr Tench went out to look for his ether cylinder, into the blazing Mexican sun and the bleaching dust. A few vultures looked down from the roof with shabby indifference: he wasn't carrion yet". This first part of the novel takes alienation as its theme. Mr Tench: a dentist has no money to leave the shabby port town. A gringo bank robber and murderer is on the loose. Padre Jose has been forced into marriage and a rebuttal of his catholic faith. Mr Fellows the plantation owner is trying to make a home of a land where his wife is made ill by the heat. In the villages the whiskey priest is finding it harder and harder to find shelter.The second and by far the longest part of the novel deals with the priests ever more desperate attempts to keep body and soul together as he flees the red shirts. He has to offer a mass as a kind of bribe in the village where he has fathered a child. Greene fills in some of his background, he is not a good priest but no different from many; "an energetic priest was always known by his debts". He is befriended by an informer a sort of vampire figure with yellow fangs and provides him with many of his moments of self knowledge:"No, if he had been humble like Padre Jose, he might be living in the capital now with Maria on a pension. This was pride devilish pride, lying here offering his shirt to the man who wanted to betray him. Even his attempts at escape had been half-hearted because of his pride-the sin by which the angels fell" This section also contains some of Greene's most unforgettable scenarios: a night the priest spends in a filthy overcrowded cell, hiding his identity from the authorities but trusting his fellow prisoners with his true identity, leaving it to fate to save or condemn him, then the shameful fight with the broken backed dog for a meaty bone and finally his futile attempts to save the life of an Indian women's child.Part three finds the priest safely across the border but the informer finds him and the priest is tempted back to certain death by the chance to save the soul of the fatally wounded gringo murderer. Here Greene superbly captures the cowardly priests dilemma. A chance for salvation a chance to be true to his faith, a real chance to make some difference. This leads to the most fascinating part of the novel where the Lieutenant and the priest come to accommodate each others views. Both think the other is basically a good man.Part f
stevage on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The only Greene I've read. This is the book that suddenly make me realise what "literature" is. Basically because I'm an uneducated ignoramus. I loved his descriptions, I felt the oppressive heat, I enjoyed the existential ennui. And I even sympathised with the protagonist, a priest ¿ who would have thought that possible?
charlie68 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A deeply written book about a man's spiritual journey and his struggles with his conscience. Another classic by Mr. Greene. I love how he can convey a mood.
john257hopper on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I wasn't sure about this for much of the time I was reading it and was prepared to take issue with the description by John Updike in the Introduction that this was the author's masterpiece. However, the last quarter was very good, with a strong narrative drive leading to the tragic conclusion and some good philosophical discussion along the way. The author's writing talents are undoubted, though some of the description of flies and heat, etc. was repetitive.
samatoha on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The fable that brought Greene to the level of Dostoievski, in the attempt to solve the conflict between religious belief and doubt.The novel works great both on the ideas explored by metaphors, and as a page-turning plot.With some unforgetable,brilliant scenes, and pure prose, it does it's job even on the uttermost athaist readers.Although the questions of morality and humanity were debated all over litreture history,and Greene doesnt add much of a new idea into it, no one cant argue with his masterfull skills as a writer.
ostrom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What a great novel, superb stylistic control, wonderful use of setting, a splendid, complexly flawed main character.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Brilliant! In this grim novel Graham Greene is sympathetic to humanity and Catholicism, and ruthless to political and ecclesiastical systems. Every character, even those who appear only briefly, is fully developed and completely perfect and necessary for the narrative. Even the lieutenant, a merciless pursuivant, possesses a spark of divinity, even though he would fiercely deny it. The unnamed priest, who fails in everything and who makes a mess of his own death before the firing squad, is so painful to consider because we see ourselves in him even as we see ourselves in the lieutenant. Everything - everything - goes wrong, and the priest, drunk on the brandy given to him by the lieutenant for reasons unknown (mercy at last) must be dragged to the firing squad for a humiliating end unlike those depicted in the children's books of martyrs. Even so, the priest is a Christ-figure in spite of his abysmal failings, reflecting the ultimate victory of the faithful and the Faith.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fantastic! I had to read this book for my college seminar class.  It was by far the best book we read all semester. I go to a catholic college and was dreading reading a book about religion because I thought that I wouldn't understand it (I'm not very familiar with Catholicism) However, I found my self wanting to read it again and again. It is life changing and so thought-provoking.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ExiledNewYorker More than 1 year ago
The Power and the Glory is a well told, complex tale focused on a core moral dilemma. Green expertly weaves multiple stories in ways that surprise and move. It's a manhunt set in the context of the clash of differing fundamental truths, all made real by the flawed characters on both sides.
AbbyAK More than 1 year ago
This was one of Greene's early novels, one that came out of his own experience in Mexico. Set there in the 1930's when the Catholic Church was outlawed by the government, it is the story of the fictional "last" priest on the run in one of the Mexican states. But the book deals with many issues, and is not to be considered just a "Catholic" book. At the heart of it is man's search for meaning. Greene's prose alone is worth the read.