Monday, February 19, 2007

The Power and The Glory - post I

When this book first starts you can not help thinking that it is going to like that other Graham Greene book A Burnt-Out Case and be based in a remote river port with a small village with natives and expats lurking around but the spread of the Mexico opens up and you are quickly immersed kin a world of politics both national and anti-Catholic and local with the tensions of ambitious policemen and scared villagers.

Bullet points from pages 1 – 96

* Things start with the dentist in a town, Tench, walking down to see if the oxygen tanks to ease the pain of his operations for patients has arrived and there he meets a stranger dressed in black who has brandy – a magical commodity in a country where alcohol is banned

* Tench talks to the stranger who wants to catch the boat but a boy comes to the house and begs the stranger to come and heal his mother and as a result the man goes away although clearly bitterly

* You pick things up again with some background on the police who are trying to catch a priest, a job that gets you shot in Mexico during this period, and they come up with a plan to take hostages from villages the priest might have visited to try to catch him

* If you want to remain a priest, as one has done in the town, then you have to marry and forgo a lot of the activities like praying that you could have done in the past and become a demoralised advert for the failure of the church

* Still the whisky priest, it becomes obvious he has a drink problem, goes from village to village passing through his old parish until he comes to the town where his daughter lives and even there he is told to move on because of the fear of police reprisals

* The priest comes face to face with the policeman trying to catch him but dressed as a peasant slips through the net but then heads off to his home town following on the heels of the police and on the last stretch of the way he attracts the unwanted attentions of a man he is convinced plans to hand him over to the police

Will he get caught? What role does Tench the dentist have to play in this? More tomorrow…

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