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Greene on Capri: A Memoir
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Greene on Capri: A Memoir

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  125 ratings  ·  22 reviews
The subtle portrait of a great but difficult man and a legendary island.

When friends die, one's own credentials change: one becomes a survivor. Graham Greene has already had biographers, one of whom has served him mightily. Yet I hope that there is room for the remembrance of a friend who knew him-not wisely, perhaps, but fairly well-on an island that was "not his kind of
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ebook, 128 pages
Published February 7th 2000 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published February 1st 2000)
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Jessica
Hazzard writes: "Graham Greene has already had biographers, one of whom has served him mightily. Yet I hope there is room for one who knew him--not wisely, perhaps, but fairly well--on an island that was "not his kind of place," but where he came seasons after season, year after year..." and this as well: "It seemed time, too, that a woman should write of Graham Greene."

Hazzard is a writer of elegance and reserve. Her book is slender, the times with Greene are neither numerous nor lengthy, but o
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Maria
Recollections from the 1960s until Graham Greene's death - walks and talks with Greene and the author and her husband, Francis Steegmuller, of Greene's works, of writers, writing, ideas, during a 30-year period on the island of Capri. An actual appreciation of Greene's books is not necessary. It's Hazzard's writing that matters here -- and the history of the island, its literary culture, the unique perspective of the author, with descriptions and photographs -- make this memoir magical. There's ...more
Elaine
Jun 07, 2013 Elaine rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
I was torn on this one. It's an Elaine 4, and probably an anyone else 3. I have a passion for Southern Italian islands and tales of expat life in a golden age that whenever it was was before my time. More importantly, Shirley Hazzard and Graham Greene are two of a very small pantheon of literary gods that I absolutely worship. So, it's as if this odd little rambling and nostalgic book was a cocktail mixed just for me. As always, Hazzard's turns of phrase and trenchant observations enchant - so m ...more
Greg
Shirley Hazzard's writing is sublime. Smooth as silk. She writes with such charm and grace, and encapsulates broad events into a succinct, condensed few lines so smoothly and eloquently. Perfect for reflecting in a memoir on fellow writer and long-time friend, Graham Greene. Shirley Hazzard draws a portrait that because of its subtleness in showing many and various aspects of Greene's character, I feel I wouldn't want to know too much more about the man. I don't think I want to read a biography ...more
Teresa
3 and 1/2 stars

Recommended for those already interested in Graham Greene, the island of Capri (its historical and natural aspects) or the writing of Shirley Hazzard, which is beautiful, as always.

Reading about such people (including other literary friends of Hazzard and her husband who visit the island), I am reminded of how much there is to know in this world and how little of it I do know.
Callie
If you've never read Shirley Hazzard, then you haven't lived (as a reader). Her writing is exquisite. There are very few writers like her in this world. I sometimes wish I could live inside her skin and be gifted with a mind like hers. Her sentences are absolutely divine. I find myself reading much more slowly than I normally do and I find that I reread a fair amount of these sentences, either for the pure pleasure of it or because they are brim with meaning and I want to squeeze out every last ...more
Bobsie67
We learn that Graham Greene was soemtimes surly and imperious as well as witty and insightful. We learn of the friendship that Ms. Hazzard and her husband strike up with Greene and their many meals at Gemma (good food, even if not transcendant). We learn about other interesting characters on Capri and even learn a little bit about Capri life and politics. I found Ms. Hazzard's writing style to be more fluid here then in her book on Naples. All interesting, but seems to lack a true urge to move t ...more
Debbie Robson
Shirley Hazzard begins this memoir of Graham Greene quite simply:
"On a December morning of the late 1960s, I was sitting by the windows of the Gran Caffee in the piazzetta of Capri, doing the crossword in The Times."
But don't be fooled! This is not a simple memoir. As the blurb on the backs says: "Shirley Hazzard is highly observant and alarmingly intelligent; she is also erudite, precise and morally scrupulous."
This is a fascinating book that I just couldn't put down. Rather than chronological
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Asma Fedosia
An interesting memoir about the friendship between the Australian author Shirley Hazzard and the British author Graham Greene who encountered each other for four decades in the low-tourist season on Capri, the four-mile long island twenty miles southward from Naples, Italy. In the memoir, Hazzard recounts conversations, life on the island and how late twentieth century transformed the traditional character, though for Hazzard the modern prosperity and habits do not bury meaningful memories of Ca ...more
Patrick McCoy
Recently I spent 20 days in Italy and one of the many places I visited was the visually stunning island of Capri. This coupled with my interest and admiration for the intrepid novelist Graham Greene made me an ideal reader for Shirley Hazzard's memoir about Greene's time on the island, Greene On Capri (2000). It seems that Hazzard and her husband the writer Francis Steegmuller, were friends of Greene and often met with him during his extended stays on the island. Hazzard mixes in lines from his ...more
James
I read this during the late summer of 2008 as it was selected by our Thursday evening book group for our return from hiatus in September of that year. We read this alongside Hazzard's short novel, The Bay of Noon. Her portrait of Greene is focused, and in comparison with the earnest but elephantine biography by Norman Sherry, is brief and economical. Yet she is able to convey far more in it of the inner man, and the sense it provides of the outer man is more vivid as well. It is a model not mere ...more
Di
Shirley Hazzard has written about famous author Graham Greene.

She quotes Cyril Connolly in trying to explain the urges that compelled Greene to travel as he did. I took note of it 'between the flight of the expatriate which is an essential desire for simplification ... and the brisker trajectory of the travel addict, trying not to find but to lose himself in the intoxication of motion.

It's a lovely book written about a man she came to consider a friend.
Wayne
I'm having a Greene Revival/Revisit.
So, so many I HAVEN'T read at all.
So few really to revisit in comparison.
And then there are the films of the books.
A Feast.

This memoir is one I purchased several years ago after going to a talk
by Shirley Hazzard on her last book "The Great Fire" at Sydney University.
I enjoyed it then and I've no doubt will again.
Tara
A slim volume of reminiscences about both Greene and Capri, about the landscape and the characters that populated it, about writing and life on a fantasy island.
Wendy
I love Shirley Hazzard's writing. This was a fond, yet honest account of her friendship with a complex man in a setting that itself changed over the years.
Linda Leith
A fascinating memoir of one great writer by another. Some comments here http://www.lindaleith.com/posts/view/142.
tina
Not my thing. Writing is rather dull. I think I've read short stories by Hazzard which I enjoyed more.
Kate
Always love reading about relationships between artists and writers...And can't beat the setting.
Nikki
I bought this book while planning my trip to Capri. Loved the trip but didn't get through the book
Naomi
What I enjoy most about Shirley Hazzard is her use of language, which is unexpected and lyrical.
Meg
"I love Shirley Hazzard. One of the last of the real intellectuals. Charming."
Jennifer
Love Graham Greene. Love Shirley Hazzard. Why haven't I read this yet?
Shin
Shin added it
Jan 14, 2015
Hoyadaisy
Hoyadaisy marked it as to-read
Dec 30, 2014
Wayne
Wayne added it
Dec 28, 2014
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Author of fiction and non-fiction. Born in Australia, Shirley Hazzard now holds citizenship in Great Britain and the United States.

As a child she travelled the world due to her parents’ diplomatic postings and at 16, worked for the British Intelligence in Hong Kong, monitoring civil war in China. After this she lived in New Zealand, Europe, USA and Italy. In the USA she worked for the United Natio
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More about Shirley Hazzard...
The Great Fire The Transit of Venus The Bay of Noon The Evening of the Holiday People in Glass Houses

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