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Loser Takes All

3.45 of 5 stars 3.45  ·  rating details  ·  553 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Bertram had no belief in luck. He was not superstitious. A conspicuously unsuccessful assistant accountant, he was planning to get married for the second time. Quite quietly: St Luke's, Maida Hill, and then two weeks in Bournemouth. But Dreuther, a director of Bertram's firm, whimsically switches wedding and honeymoon to Monte Carlo. Inevitably Bertram visits the Casino. I ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published May 1st 1993 by Penguin Classics (first published December 20th 1954)
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Dear Frere, As we have been associated in business and friendship for a quarter of a century I am dedicating this frivolity without permission to you. Unlike some of my Catholic critics, you, I know, when reading this little story, will not mistake me for 'I', nor do I need to explain to you that this tale has not been written for the purposes of encouraging adultery, the use of pyjama tops, or registry office marriages. Nor is it meant to discourage gambling. Affectionately and gratefully, Grah ...more
Three stars on Goodreads means "I liked it," but two stars means it was just "OK." Well, I liked this lightweight novella by Graham Greene, even though, ultimately, it was just OK. So, it gets two stars, even though I liked it. Dig where I'm coming from here?

The story covers about two weeks in the topsy turvy early days of the marriage of lower-echelon Brit accountant, Mr. Bertram, and his young bride, Cary. He's 40 and on his second marriage and she's a virginal 25. Their plans for an unremarka
Was GG drying out, or somepun, when he wrote this '54 short story? It opens like "Private Lives," w married couple arguing on adjoining Monte Carlo hotel balconies, and ends up like a first draft romcom of an unpublished E. Phillips Oppenheim.
Lisa Lieberman
I've been on a Graham Greene kick and while this one may not be one of his greats -- it seems to have been dashed off, to be turned into a film -- it is quite delightful. The dialogue reminds me of Noel Coward, and you get wonderful descriptions, deftly sketched as in this brief insight into the main character's boss, a rather laconic figure who possesses a subtle mind:
He was a prisoner in his room, and small facts of the outer world came to him with the shock of novelty; he entertained them as
Mar 29, 2008 Jon rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People that actually like to read good books instead of episodes of Law and Order SVU in book form
Shelves: read-2008
Everyone that likes their light fiction (read: Krantz, Evanovitch, Patterson) should throw out that trash and go read Graham Greene's novellas. This one was a fantastic example of a quick page turner that actually makes you think and examine your own relationships and fellings of right and wrong without being boorish and self important.
In the 3 1/2 hours it took me to read this book, I was treated to tales of personal growth, love, suspense, travel, and morality. A true rarity. The characters

Even Graham Greene takes a shot at the soulless despair of the late 1950s in this silly love story about a lowly middle-aged accountant in a London firm. Mr Bertram is about to be married, for the second time, to a young lighthearted girl he met in a restaurant. He gets summoned to the big boss' office and invited to honeymoon on the man's yacht in the Mediterranean.

Of course it all goes wrong and Bertram winds up in the casinos of Monte Carlo trying to use his mathematical powers to beat the
Patrick McCoy
Apparently Loser Takes All (1955) was written at the same time Graham Greene was writing one of his masterpieces, The Quiet American. Greene considered it as one of lesser works, an "entertainment" that was written for profit. That being said, it is a well written and conceived novella about a hapless couple that decides to get married in Monte Carlo despite financial problems. However, there are several compelling themes that he undertakes in the short novel. In summation, he arrives at the fac ...more
"Loser takes all" belongs perhaps not to the masterpieces of Greene. But I like Greene's quietly humorous dialogues which often have a twist in them.

Greene's novel is a romantic comedy where an English couple, Mr. Bertram and Cary, are about to get married and have a honeymoon in Monte Carlo. To me the plot of the story is weak, being based on a "secure" system to win in the roulette tables of the Monte Carlo Casino. However,
the week plot is compensated by Greene's excellent control of the lang
I liked how GG could choose to tell only the important things, and I did not really notice how time flied: sometimes just a few hours went by between chapters, sometimes whole days.
The story was simple and clearly told, focusing on the events, not on the details or the moral behind things - one has to draw one's own conclusions.
The only thing I didn't like was that Cary wasn't a believeable character. She didn't seem to love Bertram so many times, whereas sometimes there was a deep, decade-long
This is a novella by Graham Greene set in Monaco. Greene wrote some great novels which grappled with moral questions and some lighter novels which he called entertainments. This is one of the lighter ones, probably a preparation for the screenplay of the same name, and very entertaining.
It is a romantic comedy. An accountant who, through unlikely circumstances, ends up in Monte Carlo with a new wife and little money, works out a 'system' for winning at the casino. Given a choice between love and
Matthew Kaufhold
A bit preposterous, but breezy and entertaining. Monte Carlo, gambling, fortunes won and lost, and the eternal dance of lovers. Mix that with a measure of Greene's brisk, nearly brutal prose, and you have a delicious literary cocktail.
Nathan Lee
A Grahame Greene is always a good read even when it is one of his 'entertainments'. Not a lot to it but charming nonetheless and, of course, well written. One pound in the second hand bookshop well spent. Thank you Canaervon.
A short GG novel about an accountant whose employer offers to finance his wedding in Monte Carlo. The accountant, of course has a system for the casino.
A quick read. Entertaining, but not what I normally look for in GG.
Simon Stevens
Enjoyable little read. Not a great deal happens, but Greene's style and character developing is really lovely. The moral element was a bit lame, but fine in the context of a quaint little ditty.
Matthew Leroy
A nice story with a little twist at the end. Greene describes a descent into the self-justification inherent in so many poor decisions (this one gambling) in such an understandable and human manner. It's short, and a nice light read.
Jan 13, 2010 Joe rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
Certainly no heavy read and falls into Greene's self-categorization as an "entertainment". The characters are not deeply developed and the writer's description of Cary's behavior and attitudes could at the very least be deemed dated, if not overtly sexist and somewhat belittling. But the rendering of how a couple's romance is threatened and potentially destroyed by gambling is handled in a fresh manner and includes unexpected turns. It's wonderful how the novelette turns on the classic moments o ...more
Katrina Sark
p.107 - I wasn't impressed. I knew about his kindness, but kindness at the skin-deep level can ruin people. Kindness has got to care. I carried a knife in my mind and waited to use it.

Debbie Pozsonyi
This is a really sweet story. I loved the ending although I'll let you read it for yourself. If you're looking for a quick fun read this is it.
Nov 14, 2014 Kenneth marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
Novella written about life, love & gambling -literally and metaphorically. Thoroughly enjoyed characters and complex, layered story.
Feb 16, 2015 Serena marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2015-botm
Read for 02.2015 Around the World in 80 Books BotM.
Popsugar reading challenge - a book from an author I love that I hadn't read yet.
Marvelously written. But with a finale that came off...well, kinda corny.
Loser Takes All is not a bad Graham Greene novel but wildly uneven. The best and funniest part is the first third where old, doddering executives express their befuddlement with daily needs (“This…lunch…is it truly necessary?”). Unfortunately, the rest of the novel strikes an uneven balance between comedy and romantic drama, largely because Greene seemed at odds trying to make gambling addiction seem funny, and it shows. There’s an uncertainty to the direction of Loser Takes All that perhaps sho ...more
Seamus Mcduff
This is fairly lightweight by Graham Greene standards, but needs to definitely be seen for what it is -- a comedy; almost a rom-com.

I enjoyed the humour and the way the central conflict developed in a fun if not entirely believable way. The 'voices' of the main character and his new wife to me were very recognisable and 'true'.

I probably would have scored this higher but I felt a bit like the ending just sort of fizzled out and was not as strong as the first three quarters of the book. Even so,
I do love Graham Greene. This was a satisfying little dollop of his charm.
I dont like it . :( it's bored and not interisting .
Gary Vassallo
I loved this little story and the ending. A light but thoroughly entertaining read.
Samed Kaval
Oct 21, 2014 Samed Kaval is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
This might be the first novella I've read by Graham Greene, a favorite author of mine. As usual he gets into a book, keeps it moving and finishes it. Pared down, simple, great dialogue, and spot on about the human psyche, particularly in this case of newlyweds, honeymoon expectations. That it takes place in Monte Carlo, would undeniably have to include gambling, the gambling which begins the demise of the relationship. However, who the real loser is, is up to the reader to determine.
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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 about Graham Greene...
The Quiet American The End of the Affair The Power and the Glory The Heart of the Matter Our Man in Havana

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“She was not too young to be wise, but she was too young to know that wisdom
shouldn't be spoken aloud when you are happy.”
“My second wife - I was still young then - she left me, and I made the mistake of winning her back. It took me years to lose her again after that. She was a good woman. It is not easy to lose a good woman. If one must marry it is better to marry a bad woman.” 5 likes
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