Sunday, March 15, 2015

Review: Lord of the World

Lord of the World
Lord of the World by Robert Hugh Benson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm not a fan of fiction written at the turn of the twentieth century, and this novel, written in 1907, epitomizes what I dislike most about the period: all tell, no show; long descriptive paragraphs that neither set the mood nor add to the story, quaint British expressions that mean nothing to a modern reader, etc.

I read it because Pope Francis has mentioned it a couple of times in recent interviews, and Catholic writers are saying that if we want to understand the pope's interests, we should read this novel. After all, when the leader of the largest Christian religion on Earth starts being concerned with the end of times, followers should listen.

And that is the subject of this plot-driven novel: the rise of the antichrist and the onset of Armageddon.

I have to admit that Monseigneur Benson was quite prophetic in his pronouncements. The glorifying of the cult of individualism, praised and worshipped to the level of a religion, is reflected in today's contemporary society. Picture, if you will, the antichrist as a cross between Damien, from The Omen movies, and Galt, from Rand's Atlas Shrugged, and you'll get a feel for both the tone and subject matter of Lord of the World.

People should definitely read it, but only to find out what all the fuss is about at the Vatican. For those who are neither interested in Armageddon, Pope Francis, or the Catholic Church you can probably spend a week reading something better written and more entertaining.

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