not merely superfluous, but ridiculous
this post was originally published on my Goodreads account. Sorry it’s so small and incidental; I think I was going through a phase of trying to pare these things down.
Surprisingly good… I’d heard so many good things about it that I was sure I was going to be let down. In a lot of ways, I may have been… the novel takes a nearly-unique position among Christian novels, negating the conventional beliefs of Christianity so much that it seems to be a negation of the very philosophy that the story, with its priest, seems to be espousing. That doesn’t make sense, I know. I’m not sure the novel holds together the way it’s supposed to. But the description of the whisky priest’s journey across the mountain pass, the moment where he reveals himself in prison, his final decision- to give last rites to a dying man who possibly doesn’t deserve absolution, or proceed to safety – these scenes are so well-drawn that the larger success or failure of the novel ceases to matter so much. I may have more to say about the novel’s theological/philosophical position after a second reading; for now it suffices to say I was blown away by the story.