Item description for The Clowns of God by Morris L. West...
What would happen, if the members of the Roman Curia discovered that the Pope was about to state publicly that he had received a private revelation that the world was about to end? Pope Gregory XVII claims to have received a private revelation of the end of the world - an apocalypse coming not in some distant future but at any moment. Is he a madman, as his cardinals suspect, a mystic, or a fanatic grasping for an unholy power?
Citations And Professional Reviews The Clowns of God by Morris L. West has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Library Journal - 03/15/2004 page 112
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More About Morris L. West
Morris West (1916-1999), an Australian novelist, was one of the most popular Catholic writers of the twentieth century. Many of his twenty-nine novels were best sellers, including "The Shoes of the Fisherman," "Lazarus," and "The Clowns of God."
Morris L. West lived in Avalon, New South Wales. Morris L. West was born in 1916 and died in 1999.
Morris L. West has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about The Clowns of God?
Aren't we all clowns? Oct 20, 2007
I read this book in the mid-80's and want to read it again, but I cannot find my old copy. So I came online to order another and read some reviews.
I have decided to write this review from memory, before I re-read the book, for the simple reason that it had a lasting impression on me. That impression may change, when I re-read, but I want to record it:
Over the years and up to the very present, this book has come to mind at the oddest moments. Often, I've just seen a person who, in some measure, shares my faith, but whom I initially view as unimpressive. This book comes to memory and I think about the maimed, the lame, the halt in West's book--the "clowns" of God that proved to be faithful servants. In those moments, I feel as if I've been caught in unworthy thoughts. Indeed, I have been.
The bottom line, for me, is that we are all, in some way, to someone, "clowns." And it's best that I remember that and just continue to serve as I am able to understand my mission.
Seeing The End As A New Beginning Jul 15, 2006
After largely writing about a large tribe (Roman Catholicism) West turns his attention toward a future writ small: bands of survivors united in remote isolation after apocalyptic terror. A modern "Joan of Arc" story interwoven with mideast terror, physical infirmity, and the power of redemptive grace. One of Morris West's finest books: a triumph of realism amidst recovery.
A stunning, exciting, moving theological thriller Aug 6, 2005
I only bought this book by accident, after seeing a cheap second-hand copy in a charity store. It gripped me from virtually the first page right through to the last and unlike some of the other reviewers, the ending didn't disappoint me.
The essential theme of the novel is this - a Pope (a Frenchman, Jean Marie Barette) is forced out of the papacy when he sees a divine vision that the world will end soon in war. The Vatican hierarchy fear that he is mentally ill, so he is coerced into resigning his position and retiring to a monastery.
The setting of the novel is the late twentieth century - the US and the USSR are perilously close to all-out nuclear war after a crop-failure in Russia, and international terrorist groups are wreaking havoc. Western European governments are tightening their security and preparing repressive measures. Barette's vision seems accurate, even if it isn't divinely inspired.
Barette begins using his network of friends and powerful acquaintances around the world to try to stop the coming nuclear Armageddon, but this places him in personal danger...
I'm not a religious expert- I'm an atheist - and I can't judge the theology here ,but the book still moved me. As a thriller it was a real page-turner, the plot sizzles, the dialogue is good and the characters convincing.
I haven't read a better book this year - strongly recommended.
Perhaps the best of Morris West's books. Aug 16, 2003
Now and then, I come across a book that moves me. Not just with its story or language but with the emotions it can generate in me. Clowns of God is one such. Perhaps the setting is somewhat dated now, with geopolitical alliances totally re-arranged. However, when I first read it back in the 1980s, the kind of doomsday scenario it pointed to was not all that far-fetched. Many who lived through the Cold War will remember the impotent fear caused by the insanity of "Mutual Assured Destruction - MAD" theories.
Set in the heart of the Catholic Church, the book unfortunately loses some of its strength when read by those of other faiths. Sad but inevitable as the theological underpinnings are key to the story. In brief, as the Western World (NATO) and the Communist World (Warsaw Pact) contend for supremacy, a grain famine in the (then) Soviet Union gives the West a trump card that can be used to befriend or to destroy. And the temptation in the minds of the zealots (yes, they are there in every country and of every persuasion) towards destructive use is strong indeed. Into this precariously balanced trapeze act comes a wild card in the form of the reigning Pope. Firm in the belief that he has been granted a vision from God of the end of the world and commanded to preach accordingly, he faces the resistance of vested interests. Stripped of his papacy by the frightened hierarchy, he wanders into the world, searching for a sign that he is right and learning lessons from friends and acquaintances.
Odd as it may seem, the story, for all its sobering possibility is ultimately secondary. Morris is a master not only at prose but at creating characters that are fundamentally and recognizably human, with faults and frailties that accent their greatness. The picture he paints of big power games as the world hurtles towards a precipice is scary indeed. What remains in the mind however (and in my opinion form the best part of this book) are the letters written to God, age old questions that we all want to ask and whose answers we have a tough time finding. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Even a reader who is unfamiliar with Christian theology and who professes another faith will appreciate the questions that this book raises.
Best book I have ever read. Jul 2, 2003
Quite simply the best book I have ever read. Anyone who questions their faith (don't we all?) will gain some understanding and peace from this book. I will soon have to order a new copy as mine is getting rather dog-eared. Highly recommended!!