THE WORLD THE FLESH AND FATHER SMITH by Bruce Marshall
Kirkus Star

THE WORLD THE FLESH AND FATHER SMITH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

It is not easy to convey the rare charm of this little story of a Roman Catholic priest in a Scottish town -- but there's a contagious humor, a warmth of characterization, a whimsical awareness of the foibles, the human weaknesses, the inconsistencies of the faith, while at the same time there's a profound undercurrent of belief not only in the tenets of Catholicism but in the basic values. There is nothing of fantasy here (as in his inimitable Father Miracle) but the human picture of the priests and the nuns (French exiles) over a two generation span that encompasses two wars, and of their battle against the antagonism of Scotch protestantism holds one interest, even through fairly long dissertations on dogma. It is the sheer goodness of Father Smith himself, and his battles with ""the world, the flesh"", that makes the story so poignant a one. There is something of the spiritual quality of Keys of the Kingdom -- without the trimmings. There is an all-embracing tolerance, a friendliness that ignores race and creed; there is a sense of religion deeply experienced, wholly lived, abundantly shared. And at the close, Father Smith loses his life in saving the Blessed Sacrament from a bombed church. Not a book to be pigeon-holed for the religious market nor for the Catholic reader. A book in which everyone should find a message of faith and hope. I loved it.

Pub Date: June 21st, 1945
Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin