Posted by: Peadar Ban | January 2, 2012

The Viper’s Tangle

We hear much about greed these days.  As the global economy stagnates, and all Europe verges on a financial depression, media reports are filled with recriminations regarding the various levels of greed which drove the world to the financial brink on which it has been teetering for several years now.  If we did not know it before, we know it now…  infectious greed is a corrosive disease which ruins many people, which can ruin whole nations and perhaps, will this time ruin the world.  Proposed solutions to this corrosive disease in the form of laws and “guidelines” abound, but the problem at its root is much more resistant than we realize to anything we can propose for or force upon each other.  One might well ask if there can possibly be any solution to it, any solution to the problems it creates, to the problems all human frailties … which once society as a whole called sin … create.  There is.

Francois Mauriac, the Nobel Prize winning French novelist, made a career of writing about “human frailties,”  exposing our inner darknesses and revealing what was and still is the only lasting remedy for them.  Mauriac’s classic novel in this genre, The Viper’s Tangle, deals with the decaying effect of such corrosive greed upon one person and upon his relationships with everyone he should love but cannot because of his fatal flaw.  Whether a person’s flaw is greed or some other of the so-called “deadly”sins, one comes away from Mauriac’s tale concluding that without grace, the result will be the same:  misery here and torment elsewhere, for eternity.  Mauriac’s narrator, an old man nearing the end of his life, pours out his sad and bitter life in a letter to his wife who hates him, as he says he hates her, because of her own greed.  If you seek a serious, classic work of good fiction which deals with enduring truths, then this book is one you should read.  It’s fiction, of course, but even as such it is truth, a Catholic novel in every sense of that word, illuminating classic Christian teaching about Good which could have been done but for the choices made to ignore grace and embrace selfish desires and the conflicts they inevitably produce.  The Viper’s Tangle, one of the best novels to come out of France in the last century is, sadly enough, a cautionary tale for today as well.

The Christian Book Corner (t-CBC) is pleased to offer this book from Loyola Press at our everyday steep discount.  Along with other such books, t-CBC offers a wide and steadily growing array of carefully chosen Christian and Catholic fiction, poetry, intellectual, religious and theological books, music and films for all ages from only the most reputable publishers and suppliers.  Visit us today to browse our expanding collection of books, cds, dvds, journals and other articles, all of them “Chosen with Care; chosen with Prayer.”  “Like” us on Facebook to receive regular updates and news about sales and further special events!


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