Monday, August 11, 2008

At Play in the Fields of the Lord

Author: Peter Metthiessen

First line: In the jungle, during one night in each month, the moths did not come to lanterns; through the black reaches of the outer night, so it was said, they flew toward the full moon.

Why you should read this book: It's a brilliantly rendered, sobering dose of reality sprung forth from superstition, delivered in an escalating series of kicks to the head. When missionary Mart Quarrier brings his wife and child to the Amazon to convert Niaruna Indians, he enters a dangerous new world where Catholics and Protestants wage a sad battle for unwinnable souls against a backdrop of barely restrained wilderness. It's a gripping story of passion and lust, hypocrisy and fear, myopic bullheadedness, reckless ignorance, the occasional good intention, and the truths that can obscured but never refuted.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You'd martyr yourself a thousand times to save one soul for your lord.

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