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The novel reveals much about turn-of-the-century provincial America, religious life, and the depressed state of intellectual and artistic culture in small towns. The story deals with the life of a Methodist pastor named Theron Ware who recently moved to small town in upstate New York. Theron has a number of experiences that cause him to begin to question the Methodist religion, his role as a priest and even the very existence of God. Edmund Wilson called this novel, "Frederic's most brilliant achievement."
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By KSS1945 on 08-15-13
Often-overlooked American classic
Would you try another book from Harold Frederic and/or John Chatty?
Frederic's stature as a author of merit rests on this work, but--like Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird) it's enough. Unlike Lee's novel, it addresses America's struggle with religious fanaticism rather than race.
What could Harold Frederic have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?
The novel's deterministic plot is unrelieved by humor, and characters lack sympathy.
How could the performance have been better?
This book deserves better narration. THe reader drones from start to finish, with no variation in pitch or dialect to distinguish the speech of various characters. Unfortunately, this is the only audible version currently available.
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