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Ways Of Escape

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  198 ratings  ·  22 reviews
With superb skill and feeling, Graham Greene retraces the experiences and encounters of his extraordinary life. His restlessness is legendary; as if seeking out danger, Greene travelled to Haiti during the nightmare rule of Papa Doc, Vietnam in the last days of the French, Kenya during the Mau Mau rebellion. With ironic delight he recalls his time in the British Secret Ser...more
Published by Simon & Schuster (first published 1980)
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Seamus Mcduff
My Vintage Classics copy (from the library) states on the jacket: 'Inspiring... provides the best possible introduction to the novels but also the portrait of a dedicated artist' - Observer

This pretty much sums up my reaction. Reading this definitely makes me want to read many more of Mr Greene's books, whether novels, short stories, non-fiction, plays. I think an even stronger reaction is to the details of his life itself. His was an enviable life for a novelist; he lived in and visited many in...more
Patrick McCoy
Ways of Escape (1980) is the fascinating second volume of Graham Greene’s autobiography. Since I am a huge fan of Greene’s writing it gives great insight into how he created his novels, stories, plays, and other writings. However, it also gives insight into Greene’s obsession with Catholicism and struggle against depression and ennui, which lead him to travel and write and become a film critic at one stage (which also led to becoming a screen writer). The main theme is that of escape, escaping e...more
Loved this book. It taught me a lot about writing, especially Greene's trick of reading troublesome passages just before he went to bed--and then finding invariably that by morning the problem was solved, thanks to the wonderful ability of the brain to "think" even while we sleep.
I read this as it was on the 501 Must read book list, I only read one other Graham Greene (which was also on the list). Because of this I don't think I was the target audience for this memoir. He goes into some detail of characters and plot of his novels and I got a bit bored. However his life was extremely intriguing because apparently his "ways of escape" included putting himself into the middle of strife and conflict. Most people would take a nice vacation to the Bahamas, Mallorca or Tahiti,...more
James Thompson
The subject of the book lends perspective one Greene's worldview and how he became the writer that he was.
Seth Lynch
This is the second part of Graham Greene’s autobiography – the first was A Sort of Life. However, A Sort of Life was genuine autobiography where this was a story behind the stories book. It starts with his earliest novels and give some small bits of autobiographical information around them. It goes on through his career as a writer up until – what was then – the present day.

I read this book for the first time about seven years ago – after having read most of Greene’s novels. This was my first re...more
Having read and enjoyed the prequel to this volume, "A Sort of Life", I came to this one hoping to read more about Greene's professional writing life, the background to each of his novels as well as his personal affairs during these times. While these are naturally touched upon, Greene seems more interested in detailing his extensive travels around the world, and ends up digressing into long and rather tedious passages of African and Korean military history, among other countries.

As a result I f...more
This wonderful book is a witty, incisive and graceful memoir. It functions as a sort of book-by-book autobiography; he tells you what was happening in his life at the time, what motivated him to write it, his themes and motivations and intentions for each book, and whether he thought he was successful. Incisively useful information on how to put a story together, character development, dialogue, description, action, and setting, a sort of how-to primer for writers.

Reading this book was very muc...more
This was a fascinating read - an author's autobiography in terms of his books. Much of his life is not revealed but tantalising glimpses are given. He is so critical of his own work he could almost be accused of false modesty. But he is enormously generous when he talks about the works of others and of his friends.

The glimpses he allows include his frank admission of manic depression, his infidelity if referred to but he names no lovers. The frantic movement in search of the world's troubled pl...more
i wished i had enjoyed this one more. i do like graham greene so much. i guess i'm not overly familiar with his entire oeuvre, which might've helped. basically, he is describing where he was and what he was doing when ideas for his books came up and how the characters match or don't match real people he met. i was (mildly) surprised that he mentions his wife and kids about two times, and then never again. off he goes here and there, showing up with his mistress at this place, going to a brothel...more
If you love Graham Greene and remember all his books, definitely read this... however, if you don't really know the plots of his book, it probably wont' be that interesting. Particularly towards the end, when he talks about his time in Congo, Cuba, Haiti, and his jaunts throughout Eastern Europe before the war, I was fascinated. I love reading his voice and his thoughts about the places he went "Greeneland". There's an amusing anecdote at the end about an apparent imposter that was very funny.

I was grateful to have found this book. The journal excerpts from his time in London during the Blitz and his experiences in the fumeries of French Indochina were just great. It's a good read for anyone who wants a little more perspective on the events (both historical and personal) that shaped his novels. And the stories from his life certainly help bring the man back down to earth in the reader's mind.
Aug 17, 2012 Lois rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: real Graham Greene fans
I don't really think I'd have called this an autobiography. Its more a "what was going on when I wrote each of my books or plays or whatever, and how I came up with the characters, with some other stories from my extensive travels thrown in" kind of thing. Pretty interesting, nevertheless, and probably even more so if you've read a lot of his works that he mentions.
This memoir, which covers Greene's life from the start of his writing career up to about 1980, stitches together Greene's remembrance of what in his life influenced his writing, including his wartime experiences and his friendships; his response to being characterized as a Catholic writer; and his opinions on writing plays, novels and short stories.
Graham Greene writes about his travels while giving hints of how his novels take form as a result of these experiences. This perhaps explains why I liked the characters in another book of his I've read, namely that they carry the essential elements of actual people he's encountered.
Well written and interesting. There was a lot about his writing methods and motivations. Also quite a bit about his Catholicism and his many travels. I really enjoyed it.
Vikas Datta
A literary tour de force ... reads like Mr Greene is chatting with you as he recounts some highpoints of his life and talks about some of his most unforgettable books
An amazing memoir, funny and dark, and beautifully written. Worth reading for the epilogue alone: truly one of the best epilogues I've ever read, worthy of Sebald.
A great autobiography revealing why he spent his life "escaping".
The Vietnam stuff in here is good.
Apr 29, 2008 Jerometed marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
interesting title..
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Henry Graham Greene, OM, CH was an English novelist, short story writer, playwright, screenplay writer, travel writer and critic whose works explore the ambivalent moral and political issues of the modern world. Greene combined serious literary acclaim with wide popularity.

Although Greene objected strongly to being described as a “Catholic novelist” rather than as a “novelist who happened to be Ca...more
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“Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.” 372 likes
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