The roulette wheel for the Classics Club spin-along finished with the ball landing on number 10.Which means I will be reading The Power and the Glory by Grahame Greene. Phew! I said yesterday that I was hoping to avoid Robinson Crusoe so I’m pleased I avoided that – I will read it at some point but I’m not in the mood for it right now.
The Power and the Glory will actually be a re-read but it’s some thirty years now since I read it and I can’t remember much about it beyond the fact it was about a moral crisis suffered by a priest who is trying to avoid capture by the Mexican authorities. Grahame Greene was one of the authors on the final year syllabus at university, a time when all our energies were going into revision for finals and had little time for scrutinising texts in much detail.
I’ve always felt since that I didn’t do justice to Mr Greene. Fortunately Simon of Savidge Reads gave me the impetus to put that right with the ’Greene for Gran’ readalong he organised this summer as a tribute to his book-loving gran. I ended up re-reading The Heart of the Matter, one of his ‘Catholic novels’ which proved a superb experience.
The Power and the Glory is on the Time list of the best 100 novels published in English since 1923, in which it is described as a novel of “intricate moral landscapes, where corrupt characters might still be capable of goodness and virtuous ones indulge their virtues murderously.”
Sounds good doesn’t it?? Some leading figures in the Catholic church didn’t think so – the Cardinal of Westminster summoned Greene to a meeting so that he could read him a letter from the Holy Church condemning the novel and insisting he re-write it. Greene refused.
The rules of the spin-along give me until January 1, 2014 to read this which means I have a wonderful end-of -the-year reading treat in store.