THE GLORY CIRCUIT by Jess Gregg

THE GLORY CIRCUIT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The Reverend Ned Rawls, one of God's angry men, is a touring evangelist in the South. His troupe consists of a former circus barker, a Dr. Mosely who provides the music along with a false recitative about alcoholism every evening, a Negro, Scopes- Rawls' first convert, and the narrator, Jesse, a truck driver and handyman. Rawls is an expert at ""letting loose the Giant""- i.e. whipping up the emotions of his audience, and the troupe dreams of breaking into the big time- Madison Square Garden. Then along comes a pregnant Cracker girl, Millie Marie, who is ""ignorant to the point of innocence"" and Rawls falls in love with her, marries her, pretends the child is his. Love proves his downfall- he can't preach hellfire with conviction any more, and the troupe, in an attempt to restore his effectiveness, attempts to break up his marriage.... Rawls is no Elmer Gantry; and neither are the others- it is simply that their ""real religion was Rawls, himself"". This is convincing enough- and so are the characters, but there may be a disinclination to be overcome to reach a following who will look as well as listen. One of the best things about the book, however, is that Rawls does all the preaching; the author's moral judgments remain implicit.

Publisher: St Martin's Press