Skip to content

Christopher Adam Posts

Book Review: Be Near Me by Andrew O’Hagan

Father David Anderton is the new parish priest of the economically depressed Scottish coastal town of Dalgarnock. He’s thoughtful and book-smart. But he’s also naive and demonstrates poor judgment. When he ignores the principle of maintaining boundaries in pastoral ministry and befriends two troubled teens, he hurtles towards disaster. Page by page, the reader sees with growing clarity that Father…

Feuilleton (1): A reading from Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock

This is an excerpt from Graham Greene’s 1938 novel Brighton Rock read by me, as part of a new series of audio recordings entitled Feuilleton, sampling works of twentieth century literature.┬áIn this scene, the young and naive Rose is grappling with the recent suicide of her sociopath husband — who almost took her down with him along his dark, destructive…

Book Review: In Other Words by Anna Porter

When I’m struck by the work of an author, I’m inclined to learn more about their life. My interest is only heightened by the sense of mystery that surrounds the generations of authors writing before social media — when there wasn’t the same pressure to disclose everything, to opine on all subjects and to talk as much about the author,…

Book Review: The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence

At first glance it’s tough to like Hagar Shipley — the narrator of Margaret Laurence’s 1964 novel, The Stone Angel. This harsh, aloof woman is quick to judge and slow to forgive and understand. Yet she’s also self-aware; it’s her sense of quiet remorse that makes her likeable. And in Hagar’s twilight years, her fragility and vulnerability — her desperate…

Book Review: Brighton Rock by Graham Greene

A chance encounter can change the course of a life. That’s what happens to Ida Arnold in Graham Greene’s 1938 novel Brighton Rock. On a Whitsun holiday weekend, she has a fling with a frightened stranger on the cusp of death. Sun-drenched Brighton, with throngs of visitors from London enjoying a long weekend by the sea, is the seemingly innocuous…

My article in the National Catholic Reporter — 20th-century Catholic authors in search of grace

This morning the U.S.-based National Catholic Reporter (NCR) published my piece exploring the complicated Catholic faith of four 20th century authors: Greene, O’Connor, Spark and Waugh. These four are iconic twentieth century British and American writers and novelists who I’ve often reviewed on my website. By publishing in NCR, I can share with a broader audience reflections on the faith-based…

Book Review: A Far Cry from Kensington by Muriel Spark

Muriel Spark’s 1988 novel — a drama, a mystery and a comedy in approximately equal measure — is in some ways a nostalgic, yet unsanitised reflection on the London publishing industry of the fifties. We travel back to postwar London, still pockmarked by the Second World War. Our guide on this journey is Mrs. Hawkins — an ageing insomniac in…

Book Review: Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor

What happens when something that you don’t understand and want to escape ends up pulling you in and throws your whole world off balance? That’s the question at the heart of Flannery O’Connor’s darkly comic novel Wise Blood. We meet Hazel Motes, a World War II veteran. He’s pursued by Christ, and he is desperate to evade him. Then there’s…

The Handbook of the 1956 Hungarian Refugees — From Crisis to Impact

My chapter on Canada’s response to the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and the subsequent refugee crisis of 1956-57 has appeared in Hungarian, in a new print handbook on the history of 1956 published by the Institute of History at Hungary’s Research Centre for the Humanities. The Hungarian-language version of the handbook is being launched tomorrow in Budapest. In English, the project…

Book Review: A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh

The dynamics of daily life, the intricacies of human relationships, and people with prestige or power in our communities can appear to be of unfaltering importance. Yet human existence is fundamentally evanescent and that’s what Evelyn Waugh explores in his 1934 novel A Handful of Dust. We meet a group of English socialites and at the heart of this group…