The Devil's Advocate Hardcover – Large Print, Jul 1974
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|Hardcover, Large Print, Jul 1974||
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Top Customer Reviews
I am not Catholic or Christian, but the soul of the story is universal - its faith.... It tells how faith can make a ordinary man to move closer to heaven. It can be just one more proof - for the beleif that the earth revolves on the axis of truth.Giacomo Nerone, proves his miracles are none other than faith. Faith in god, truth & himself.
The writer gives a moving picture of the Italian village, depth view of the happening in Church during early 20th century. The story moves in the eyes of Devil's advocate which gives us balanced view of Nerone.The letters writen by Nerone to the doctor, latter read by dev. adv. is the best part of the book. I recommend this book for those who like to be disture to their inner-soul.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
It is beautifully written with characters full of human follies, sacrifices and dichotomy of good and evil. Meredith, who had spent his entire life in Rome, closeted in the ridged environs of the Church, is suddenly immersed among ordinary folks with human failings, some with unbound love and devotion, and some who possess qualities of equal measure.
Why do we act the way we do? What makes us believe in God and yet commit horrible acts? When Meredith unveils Contessa's evil plan of seducing Paolo, Nerone's young son, he admonishes her and bares her soul. Contessa then blithely asks him to be her confessor. Monsignor replies people go to confessions as if visiting their psychiatrist, not to repent and ask for forgiveness, but to unburden themselves of their shameful act, so that they can go on to their next folly.
The human riddle has no answer. Even the good hearted dying Monsignor fails in his bid to save Nicholas Black. Meredith, a cold hearted bookworm from Rome, discovers for the first time true love, hatred, jealousy, revenge, the essence of human heart. He is so moved by the events in the small town, which tugged at his heart for the very first time, that he requests the Church in Rome to be buried there.
A MUST read in any body's list.
Over the course of time, Blaise Meredith lost something within himself, the mystery of what brought him into religious life in the first place, that spark of Divine influence which ignited his actions, the excitement, the possibility, the allure; what he clung to was a partial illusion instead of the reality, and so, bit-by-bit, he gradually crumbled until his feelings became ashes and dust rather than his body. Yet, that is the beauty of humanity, for we each raise each other up when necessary, and Fr. Meredith is no exception. But he is raised up not by a living soul, but a departed one, a martyred witness whose cause for canonization he must investigate. But for him, it is yet another albatross around his neck, for he is of the belief that the world could do with more churches and better attendance than another holy rollar saint. However, the man whom he must investigate--Giacomo Nerone--appears anything but saintly, which in its own right is quite refreshing. But his adherence to the doctrine of the Church, even onto death, is what elevates him to the possibilities of the honor of the alter. The story surrounding Nerone and those who knew him slowly and intricately revives the devil's advocate's own faith. And his soul is gradually restored.
West's novel can be dissected on many levels and the characters that are gradually introduced are by all accounts flawed in their own very unique manner, for nothing is held back. But no matter how reprehensible some of the characters and situations may be, there is corrective redemption that is available; some take it and others do not, but for those who do, one can not but sigh with a degree of relief. As noted in the author biogrphy, The Devil's Advocate was awarded the Royal Society's William Heinemann Award, the National Brotherhood Award from the National Council of Christians and Jews as well as the James Tait Black Memorial Award. And for me, upon completion of the book, an understanding of the universal acclaim that it has received since its publication.