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76

The Power and the Glory

Author(s)
Published
01/03/2001

Publisher writes

During a vicious persecution of the clergy in Mexico, a worldly priest, the 'whisky priest', is on the run. With the police closing in, his routes of escape are being shut off, his chances getting fewer. But compassion and humanity force him along the road to his destiny, reluctant to abandon those who need him, and those he cares for.

Author Information

Graham Greene,

Graham Greene was born in 1904. On coming down from Balliol College, Oxford, he worked for four years as sub-editor on The Times. He established his reputation with his fourth novel, Stamboul Train. In 1935 he made a journey across Liberia, described in Journey Without Maps, and on his return was appointed film critic of the Spectator. In 1926 he had been received into the Roman Catholic Church and visited Mexico in 1938 to report on the religious persecution there. As a result he wrote The Lawless Roads and, later, his famous novel The Power and the Glory. Brighton Rock was published in 1938 and in 1940 he became literary editor of the Spectator. The next year he undertook work for the Foreign Office and was stationed in Sierra Leone from 1941 to 1943. This later produced the novel The Heart of the Matter, set in West Africa. As well as his many novels, Graham Greene wrote several collections of short stories, four travel books, six plays, three books of autobiography - A Sort of Life, Ways of Escape and A World of My Own (published posthumously) - two of biography and four books for children. He also contributed hundreds of essays, and film and book reviews, some of which appear in the collections Reflections and Mornings in the Dark. Many of his novels and short stories have been filmed and The Third Man was written as a film treatment. Graham Greene was a member of the Order of Merit and a Companion of Honour. He died in April 1991.

Judges' and contributors' comments

Rupert Shortt: He certainly broaches that thing about ‘I can’t quite believe my unbelief’ and his novels did voice that at a time when it was quite important. People do still read Greene, and they make films about Greene

David Winter: It’s an incredibly powerful book, I remember reading it when I was a student and being bowled over by it.

John Pridmore: Greene’s ‘Whisky priest’, who knew at the end that ‘there was only one thing that counted – to be a saint’, is not only one of the most memorable characters in modern literature. He also gives all of us who know that we are failures the courage to go on.

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