Posted by: Lisa Hill | May 22, 2014

The Power and the Glory (1940), by Graham Greene, narrated by Andrew Sachs

The Power and the Glory audiobookI wasn’t going to write about Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory here because it’s such a well-known book, I assumed that most people would know it already.  I read it many years ago when I was a student and the book and its themes are still a vivid memory; listening to the audio book on the daily commute was a real pleasure. But what could I say about it, that hasn’t already been said before?

Graham Greene has nine books listed in the 2006 edition of 1001 Books to Read Before You Die, and I’ve read all but the first two, and more besides:

Many of these novels have been transformed into wonderful films, and perhaps this cinematic quality is what makes them great audio books too.  My favourite reader is Michael Kitchen whose rendition of The Heart of the Matter

I shan’t say much more except to suggest that you make room on your shelves for The Power and the Glory.  The story of a most imperfect priest on the run in in Mexico during the 1930s, when the Church was outlawed and priests were shot, it is one of the most brilliant representations of human frailty that I know of: the whisky priest is an all-too-human blend of courage and cowardice; faith and doubt; hope and despair.  For all his faults, he retains a certain dignity,  his suffering is noble and he makes us believe in the possibility of redemption.  At the same time, his flaws confirm the way the Church exploited the peasantry and failed to meet their real needs.  Greene’s ambivalence is what makes him a master story-teller.

PS Needless to say, I’ve scoured the web for the first two titles on that list – my reward to myself for writing this post!

Author: Graham Greene
Title: The Power and the Glory
Narrator: Andrew Sachs
Publisher: BBC Audio books, 2008, first published 1940
ISBN: 978140564739
Source: Kingston Library


Links above are to Fishpond.  For the audio book, try your library.


  1. When all else fails, Graham Greene never lets you down. I also enjoyed two not on the “before you die” list: The Human Factor and the Comedians,


    • Yes, Nancy, exactly. There are authors, aren’t there, that we turn to when we’re not prepared to take a risk, we just want a book that we know we’ll enjoy.
      I liked your review of The Comedians: I guess it’s one of the ones that Greene classified as an ‘entertainment’? I find it quite odd that he was apparently snooty about his own books, labelling some of them as literature and others as not…


  2. […] Brighton Rock (1938); The Confidential Agent (1939, see my review); The Power and the Glory (1940, see my review); The Heart of the Matter (1948); The End of the Affair (1951); The Quiet American (1955); Travels […]


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