The Power and the Glory

The Power and the Glory - John Updike, Graham Greene

"The wall of the burial-ground had fallen in: one or two crosses had been smashed by enthusiasts: an angel had lost one of its stone wings, and what gravestones were left undamaged leant at an acute angle in the long marshy grass. One image of the Mother of God had lost ears and arms and stood like a pagan Venus over the grave of some rich forgotten timber merchant. It was odd – this fury to deface, because, of course, you could never deface enough. If God had been like a toad, you could have rid the globe of toads, but when God was like yourself, it was no good being content with stone figures – you had to kill yourself among the graves."

 

It may have been the subject matter but this book was hard to follow and such a relief to finish.

 

Saying that, it is not a book I would have abandoned.

 

The Power and the Glory - as remote as it may have been to anything I can relate to - was strangely compelling because the story of a secular regime oppressing people by outlawing religion (or anything else that posed as an opposition) seemed to reflect much of the time it was written in.

 

And of course, I am glad to see that Greene has by this time (1940) moved on from writing insipid thrillers.