1001 Books Round-Up January 2021
So did the 1001 List start strong in 2021…
The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene – BOTM – What GR says: In a poor, remote section of Southern Mexico, the paramilitary group, The Red Shirts have taken control. God has been outlawed, and the priests have been systematically hunted down and killed. Now, the last priest is on the run. Too human for heroism, too humble for martyrdom, the nameless little worldly “whiskey priest” is nevertheless impelled toward his squalid Calvary as much by his own compassion for humanity as by the efforts of his pursuers. Yep that is pretty accurate.
My Thoughts: While some consider this Greene’s best work for me it was more meh than yeah. There are a couple of reasons why I think this could be one of them is that I have read (IMO) better Greene novels (The End of the Affair) and the other is I have read better religious persecution novels (Silence by Shūsaku Endō) that said I am constantly impressed by Greene’s writing ability even when exploring a similar central theme in his novels he can change the time and the place t make a completely different story no Greene novel ever feels the same.
While this book wasn’t for me I can see why it is included on the list. The Whisky Priest is all too human he wants to survive, feels guilty that his survival causes the death of others, wants to be betrayed to bring an end to running and yet when he has the chance to escape he willing returns to danger to save another soul. As a character he is brilliantly human and his journey shows the good and bad side of mankind. I loved the way he has sinned and yet doesn’t want absolution because the result of the sin is something good. You can’t beat Greene for a conflicted character.
3 Stars – You will probably enjoy it more than I did. Everyone else seems to.
Where Angels Fear to Tread by E. M. Forster – TBR Challenge. What GR says: When a young English widow takes off on the grand tour and along the way marries a penniless Italian, her in-laws are not amused. That the marriage should fail and poor Lilia die tragically are only to be expected. But that Lilia should have had a baby — and that the baby should be raised as an Italian! — are matters requiring immediate correction by Philip Herriton, his dour sister Harriet, and their well-meaning friend Miss Abbott. Well there you have it!
My Thoughts: I actually found myself enjoying this far more than I expected to. I had previously read A Passage to India (required reading for school) and not really enjoyed it at all so I went into this with low expectations.
For me there were no likeable characters but I was still fascinated to see how things would turn out, how far they would go, how awful they could possibly be (really awful) and how they would live with what they did.
To say this doesn’t show the English in a good light would be an understatement. That said the Italians don’t come out well either. Basically it is a novel about horrible people doing horrible things because they can and because they think it is there right to do so.
4 Stars – a surprisingly quick and easy read with one really shocking event. Give it a go.
Have you read any of these? Let us know what you thought. Or if you read any different 1001 books let us know what we are missing.
I read the Power and the Glory in high school. It started me on the road to reading everything Greene wrote. I don’t think he wrote a bad book. Some were better than others, but as you say, all were different. I need to revisit them.
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