''Hell is to cease to love,'' the young priest protagonist of Diary of a Country Priest
tells a parishioner in danger of such lovelessness. The clash of the worlds of love and lovelessness, of God and Satan, that underlies all our lives; the reality of which is so clear to the saints and from which, at least in its starkest manifestations, the rest of us are perhaps mercifully insulated -- this is the reality that Georges Bernanos (1888-1948) sought to expose. He named the demons of the modern world, and unmetaphorically connected them to the evil one. Slipping near the edge of pessimism and despair in that dark vision, Bernanos' could write about the experience of grace and saving love all the more convincingly.
An Eighth Day View:
In this classic Catholic novel, Bernanos movingly recounts the life of a young French country priest who grows to understand his provincial parish while learning spiritual humility himself. Awarded the Grand Prix for Literature by the Academie Francaise, The Diary of a Country Priest was adapted into an acclaimed film by Robert Bresson. A book of the utmost sensitiveness and compassion...it is a work of deep, subtle and singularly encompassing art. New York Times Book Review (front page)