|06-28-2012, 06:42 AM||#1|
Join Date: May 2011
Location: JAPAN (US expatriate)
Device: Sony PRS-T2, ADE on PC
Jerome, Jerome K.: All Roads Lead to Calvary. v1. 28 June 2012
By the author of “Three Men in a Boat,” “Three Men on the Bummel,” “Diary of a Pilgrimage,” “Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow,” “Stage-Land,” “Paul Kelver,” etc.
As the circus ringmaster says, Now, for something completely different! This book may be of interest to Jerome fans to show subject matter and writing style quite different from the author’s usual choices.
From customer review by David Bagchi at amazon.co.uk: ... this novel will be a complete surprise. Although Jerome ... had tackled religious themes in his popular play, “The Passing of the Third Floor Back” (1908), “All Roads Lead to Calvary” is a more explicitly religious Bildungsroman. It follows the intellectual and emotional development of Joan Allway as she begins her professional career in London on the eve of the First World War. Moving easily in the worlds of journalism and politics, Cambridge-educated Joan serves as our eyes and ears as she is introduced to a range of characters who represent the various political and economic solutions to the world's ills, and encounters a series of moral dilemmas.
It would be easy to list the book's demerits; certainly the clunkiness of the set-pieces, as each character puts forward a stereotyped world-view in turn, will not be to most modern tastes. But it would be wrong to dismiss Jerome as a Victorian stuffed-shirt out of place in the twentieth century. Although a patriot, he is clearly disgusted by the exploitative jingoism of war. The book is populated with professional women who choose to make a living without the support of men. The working classes are not idealized, but Jerome clearly sees the future in the organization of labour and in its participation in industrial management.
Jerome's theology, as the title of the novel suggests, is a theology of the cross: as God in Christ suffered, so all self-giving leads to God. A theme of the book is that God is not to be thought of as a great king but as a fellow-labourer (echoing I Corinthians 3), working out his purposes in the everyday struggles of life. In this sense, the true heroine is not Joan the glamorous media-star, but the elderly church cleaner Mary Stopperton, ever-working and ever-hospitable to the underclass of Chelsea. Again, this brand of heart-warming Pelagianism will not be to everyone's taste (and is surprising, given that Jerome's family nickname was 'Luther'); but, in the context of the horror of the trenches, which Jerome observed first-hand as a volunteer ambulance-driver, it is understandable. To say the least.
The book begins:
|fiction, journalism, politics, religion, social change|
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