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Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

Station Zero
Philip Reeve
Progress: 220/282 pages
The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition
Ursula K. Le Guin, Charles Vess
Progress: 749/997 pages
The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry
Robert Chandler
The Uncertain Land and Other Poems
Patrick O'Brian
Progress: 8/160 pages
The Heptameron (Penguin Classics)
Marguerite de Navarre
Progress: 152/544 pages
The Poems and Plays of John Masefield
John Masefield
Progress: 78/534 pages
Poems Selected
Emily Dickinson, Ted Hughes
Progress: 4/50 pages
Selected Poems
U A Fanthorpe
Progress: 18/160 pages
The Penguin Book of Scottish Verse
Mick Imlah, Robert Crawford
Hainish Novels & Stories, Vol. 2
Ursula K. Le Guin
Progress: 133/789 pages

The Power and the Glory, Graham Greene

The Power and the Glory - Graham Greene

This was a bit of a struggle, being twice as long as its limited ambition requires - that ambition being to illustrate the weakness, fallability and moral confusion of a Catholic priest, tempered by a hint of hope. At least this was acheived.


The setting is a Southern State of Mexico where a deadly Catholic purge has been underway for ten years. The churches have burned and the priests have fled, or been killed, or renounced their vocations - except for one. Quite how such a stupid, vacilating character managed to evade capture for so long is beyond comprehension, but nevermind - even more frustrating is that the situation is never explained. Why is the purge happening? Why is it State-wide but not Nation-wide? What year is it, anyway? Why are distilled spirits and wine illegal when beer is legal? I don't know if ignoring all this was meant to make the story more like a parable or if Greene's obsession with Catholic angst just rendered all context unimportant to him, but for me it was a missed opportunity.