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Greene on Capri: A Memoir

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  158 Ratings  ·  29 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
ebook, 128 pages
Published February 7th 2000 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published February 1st 2000)
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Feb 06, 2010 Jessica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
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
May 29, 2012 Maria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
One winter morning in the late 1960s, the Australian novelist Shirley Hazzard met - par hasard, in a cafe - the aging Graham Greene on the fabled island of Capri, just off the Neapolitan coast. What ensued was a friendship à quatre that endured over three decades - the quatre consisting of the two novelists and their respective partners (the Frenchwoman Yvonne Cloetta and the American writer Francis Steegmuller).

This may be a slim volume, but it is a work of exceptional beauty. In crystalline p
Jun 07, 2013 Elaine rated it really liked it
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
Andrew Schirmer
Jun 15, 2015 Andrew Schirmer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've long been an admirer of G.G.'s fiction, but Norman Sherry's 3vol. brique never attracted my interest. This seemed just the ticket--an elegant, brief view of G.G.'s life seen through the prism of friendship and the dwindling literary expat community on Capri (CAPree, let's say it together now...). The portrait is somewhat entirely in character. Greene came to Capri to get away from it all, and, despite purchasing a home on the island, never had any real 'interest' in the island and its cultu ...more
Sep 06, 2011 Teresa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 11, 2013 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 26, 2013 Callie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 09, 2008 James rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lincoln-park, memoir
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
Feb 05, 2009 Bobsie67 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel, biography
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
Aug 12, 2016 Sketchbook marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This rating is error. I havent read the bk.
Debbie Robson
Jan 04, 2013 Debbie Robson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 23, 2011 Asma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 03, 2015 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am always interested in reading about Graham Greene and I p bed Hazzard's novel The Transit of Venus, so this seemed to food to miss. It was interesting and informative, the writer kept our attention on the subject (Greene) but still managed to put herself across too.

I found it quite dated and it had quite a lot of the institutionalized snobbery that seems a hallmark of writers when they get together. Being slightly distrustful of rich people, considering themselves poor even though they own h
Bronwen Whyatt
Dec 01, 2016 Bronwen Whyatt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A ramble through the ex-pat life of the English on the island of Capri. Part memoir, part essay, part literature and biographical review, this book lets the reader in on the relationships of Graham Greene with Shirley Hazzard and her husband, Francis Steegmuller and several other friends and passers-by during their time on Capri. It is the kind of writing that I hope I could some day emulate. All at once deeply personable, but at the same time incisive for it's truthful summary of the characters ...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
Feb 26, 2008 Di rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 03, 2016 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: greene
There is nothing really wrong with this book, but the author seems not to have had much access to her subject, mainly because he preferred solitude, sometimes to the point of rudeness. Anti American, anti semitic, misogynistic, Greene wasn't a barrel of laughs.

But there's something intriguing about these ex-Pat literary circles. Capri attracted them.
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.
Linda Leith
Aug 15, 2012 Linda Leith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating memoir of one great writer by another. Some comments here
Sep 24, 2010 Tara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 11, 2013 Wendy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Not my thing. Writing is rather dull. I think I've read short stories by Hazzard which I enjoyed more.
Jan rated it really liked it
Mar 22, 2015
George rated it really liked it
Sep 01, 2011
Devon MacEachron
Devon MacEachron rated it it was ok
Nov 25, 2015
Pip rated it liked it
Mar 02, 2013
Kathy Cudlin
Kathy Cudlin rated it really liked it
Jan 07, 2012
Joan Morin
Joan Morin rated it really liked it
Dec 06, 2014
Jun 15, 2009 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Always love reading about relationships between artists and writers...And can't beat the setting.
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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
More about Shirley Hazzard...

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