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Author: Christopher Adam

Feuilleton (3): A reading from Evelyn Waugh’s Vile Bodies

This is an audio recorded reading from Chapter 1 of the 1930 novel Vile Bodies. In this scene, passengers are travelling on a ship across the English Channel from France to Dover, England. At the heart of the humorous scene is a sly Jesuit, Father Rothschild, and the entrepreneurial evangelist Mrs. Melrose Ape, along with her troupe of young women…

Feuilleton (2): A reading from Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood

This is an audio recording of a scene from Flannery O’Connor’s novel Wise Blood. Hazel Motes, a tormented and blinded preacher of the fledgling “Church Without Christ” is persistently haunted by that “ragged figure who moves from tree to tree in the back of his mind” — a figure he tries to escape, yet can’t. In this scene Hazel Motes…

Palm Sunday 2023 at St. Joseph’s Parish, Ottawa — A Photo Journal

I was tasked with taking photographs from a corner of the choir loft at St. Joseph’s Parish in Ottawa this morning, for Palm Sunday Mass. Most of the photos are from above, with a few others from ground level. Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord begins Holy Week in the Catholic tradition. The purple vestments of Lent, symbolising…

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…