It's hard to separate my evaluation of the book and the reading, but Joseph Porter has given us a straightforward interpretation of Graham Greene's tale of a man caught in a morass of deception and struggling with his crushing sense of personal responsibility. Perhaps no one has written more movingly than Greene about the Blessed Sacrament and God's insistent love. It might have been easy for a narrator to mock Scobie's spiritual dilemma or to caricature the whining women in his life, but Porter doesn't. Porter's reading also conveys, without histrionics, the tragedy of Ali, which marks a final step in Scobie's moral downfall---more decisive perhaps than his unworthy reception of Holy Communion.
A mystery to any Catholic, and an indication of Scobie's paralyzing overconscientiousness, is his notion that his Rosary is useless because broken. Prayer is possible, with or without a physical aid, and why did God give us ten fingers, anyway? God can mend broken things, even Scobie.
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