Graham Greene – The Power And The Glory

When the weather gets warm and sunny I often find myself more in the mood to read modern literature than during other seasons. From the bottom of my read pile I recovered The Power And The Glory (1940) by Graham Greene to see if I would be able to give it a go and surprisingly I had it finished within several days time.

I had no idea what to expect and I didn’t bother finding out what is was about. Anything that is in my pile I don’t need to check out even if I got the novel cheaply or for free. Knowing as little as possible is in my opinion always better because you won’t have any expectations.

The speed with which I was able to read it only says something about the readability. The prose is fine and Greene doesn’t use a particular style which makes it hard to get through. The story itself starts off in a mixed fashion. One might think that from the multiple view points and the passive nature of the characters will provide a slow story development. The focus then shifts to a single character. Not at once, but gradually. The other viewpoints disappear to the background, so to say. The story then progresses rapidly and although one might assume the plot to develop likewise it is actually going sideways.

This has all to do with the main character who is being hunted but does not want to decide on escaping. Everybody is failing which leads to comedic situations which are actually tragic. I did not like the main character, who has a weak mind and simply seems out of place. It is only at the end that he comes clean with himself and this all feels like it has been postponed for too long. It only because of the occasional comedic situations that I found some amusement during the read.

It is not hard to recognize certain qualities and themes within the novel. The problem for me was that these did not resonate with me. I did not really care about it. One thing I did not get were some of the secondary viewpoints. Yes, they provided some different perspectives, but they were used only in a minimal sense. You get a short view of their world and then they are almost forgotten until the writer decides to let them return one more time at the end to bring closure of a kind.

So what to conclude about this novel? It will depend very much on the reader if he will enjoy it. For me it was an okay pastime for a warm summer read, which was what I was looking for.

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