16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
beautifully written, with various insights into human nature,
This review is from: Father Brown: The Essential Tales (Modern Library Classics) (Paperback)
Father Brown: The Essential Tales is a wonderful collection of stories; each one is original, beautifully written, and rich with insight into human nature.
Father Brown is an unassuming country priest, generally underestimated because of his odd appearance and quiet, pleasant manners. At the scene of a crime he often wanders in the background, out of people's notice; he watches for reactions, slips, little details that hardly seem important but are actually crucial. He observes people's characters and gently penetrates through lies, half-truths, dissembling and disguises. His years of listening to people's confessions have given him a lot of experience with varying human desires, impulses and motives.
The crimes themselves are absorbing and often multi-layered; the characters are also sharply drawn and often given unexpected depths or surprising facets and traits. The insights into human nature are also not conventional or obvious - Chesterton doesn't stop at basic greed or rage, leaving those as the relatively simple explanations. He explores different elements of human behavior, the psychology and circumstances that underlie certain thoughts, complexes, and feelings.
I also have to add that the writing is beautiful. There are so many instances of wonderful imagery, of metaphors that make the most ordinary objects vibrant and laden with meaning. It's the kind of writing that can be savored; it's delicious. The substance of the stories and the beauty of the writing engage the mind, the heart, the moral imagination and the senses.