John's Reviews > The Tenth Man

The Tenth Man by Graham Greene
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Mar 05, 08

Read in March, 2008

This is an intriguing little novel, or maybe more of a long parable. A wealthy man in a concentration camp in France is chosen by lot to be one of three people executed. He offers to exchange all of his wealth, property and possessions for his life. A fellow inmate takes him up on it, wanting to die a wealthy man and leave his mother and his sister well off. After the war, the man who paid for his life returns to what had been his home under an assumed name, and winds up as a servant to the sister and mother of the man who died in his place. It might sound like I've given away the plot, but that's really just the setup.
"The Tenth Man" has far less of a sense of place than most Graham Greene novels I've read.
What's really intriguing is that Greene wrote this book in 1944, while under contract with MGM, then forgot about it. It wasn't published until 1983. Imagine being such a prolific writer that you forget about one of your books.
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