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Graham Greene
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message 1: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4523 comments Mod
A thread to discuss Graham Greene - an enormously prolific and influential writer - his first novel was The Man Within, published in 1929, and he went on publishing right up to 1990, the year before his death, with The Last Word and Other Stories.

Graham Greene

So what have you read by him and which are your favourite works?


message 2: by Pamela (new)

Pamela (bibliohound) | 503 comments Really like these favourite authors threads, Judy, great idea.

I love Graham Greene - have read Brighton Rock several times, The Power and the Glory, The Comedians, The Quiet American and The Honorary Consul.

There is always so much below the surface with Greene.


message 3: by Judy (last edited Oct 22, 2017 09:39AM) (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4523 comments Mod
Pamela wrote: "Really like these favourite authors threads, Judy, great idea.

I love Graham Greene - have read Brighton Rock several times, The Power and the Glory, The Comedians..."


My favourite book by him is The End of the Affair, a love story set during the Blitz, which I've read countless times over my life - recently I saw the older film adaptation starring Deborah Kerr and Van Johnson, and, although it was good, it wasn't anywhere near as good as the book - so of course I had to read it again.

I started out to read all his available works in order a few years ago, but conked out before I got anywhere near the end - hope to resume when I have time and read on.


message 4: by Haaze (new)

Haaze | 146 comments Judy wrote: "My favourite book by him is The End of the Affair, a love story set during the Blitz, which I've read countless times over my life - recently I saw the older film adaptation starring Deborah Kerr and Van Johnson, and, although it was good, it wasn't anywhere near as good as the book - so of course I had to read it again. ."

I have read very few of his works, but, like you Judy, I truly enjoyed The End of the Affair. Are the rest of his novels similar in style? Your post makes me want to reread it! :)


message 5: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Judy wrote: "So what have you read by him and which are your favourite works?"

I have read several of his books:
The Quiet American in school (and reread last year)
Our Man in Havana (5* but influenced by my love of the Alec Guinness film)
Travels With My Aunt
Brighton Rock (5*)
This Gun for Hire (aka A Gun for Sale)
The End of the Affair
The Power and the Glory
The Ministry of Fear (5*)
Orient Express (aka Stamboul Train)
The Third Man
The Heart of the Matter


message 6: by Haaze (new)

Haaze | 146 comments Leslie wrote: "Judy wrote: "So what have you read by him and which are your favourite works?"

I have read several of his books:
The Quiet American in school (and reread last year)
"


Leslie,
Wow! I suspect that you are quite a Graham Greene expert at this point in time. I'm impressed! What attracted you to his works in the first place? Also, how do his other works compare to The End of the Affair (the only work of his I really recall even though I read Travels With My Aunt in high school)?


message 7: by Leslie (last edited Oct 22, 2017 03:49PM) (new)

Leslie I mentally divide his books in my mind between what he called his "entertainments" - the thrillers & comedies - and his serious books. I tend to like his thrillers best but that is partly because I like that genre so much!

I would put The End of the Affair into the serious category along with The Power and the Glory & The Heart of the Matter. All of these have religious themes to them (not my favorite topic but Greene does it very well). I would say The Heart of the Matter is slightly better (more interesting to me) and The Power and the Glory slightly worse (less interesting to me) compared to The End of the Affair. But they were all 4* books!

What attracted me to his books? Well, we read The Quiet American in school but then I didn't read him again until 5-6 years ago. I became interested in (i.e. slightly obsessed with) reading books from the Guardian's list of 1000 novels everyone should read. There are 8 books by Greene on it so I started with those. Now Greene is one of my favorite authors so I am continuing on to read others.


message 8: by Haaze (new)

Haaze | 146 comments Very enticing, Leslie! Hopefully we will get a chance to encounter at least a few of Greene's novels in this reading group. It is interesting how his works grew on you as you kept reading his novels. Perhaps one (as a reader) attune to the author as one immerses oneself?


message 9: by Nigeyb (last edited Oct 22, 2017 11:17PM) (new)

Nigeyb | 9336 comments Mod
That's very helpful Leslie - thanks

I read loads a teenager back in 70s but have only v occasionally picked him up since. I did however really enjoy Brighton Rock on a recent re-read and, for the first time, The Ministry of Fear which I though a perfect book: accessible, clever, beautifully written, evocative, tense, and quietly profound. A palpable sense of dread and unease runs throughout the story set in the early years of World War 2 in England, primarily London.


message 10: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4523 comments Mod
Haaze wrote: "I have read very few of his works, but, like you Judy, I truly enjoyed The End of the Affair. Are the rest of his novels similar in style? Your post makes me want to reread it! :) ..."

I think his writing style is always similar but the subject matter varies hugely and some of the books are far more intense than others - as Leslie says, there are some he classed as "entertainments".

I will have a look back later and work out which ones I have read over the last few years, so I can post a list too - Leslie, from your list I am yet to read Travels with My Aunt, though I've been meaning to get to it for years...


message 11: by Pip (new)

Pip | 15 comments I've loved all the Graham Greene I've read, with the exception of The Power and the Glory which I found quite hard-going. I think it's a book you really have to be in the mood for - in accordance with Leslie's classification, I'd say it's one of his more serious books.

I had to teach Our Man in Havana with a group of very advanced students of English as a Foreign Language several years ago, and my thorough enjoyment of it was further enhanced by reading and analysing it with them. It's one of those books in which every single character is beautifully defined and memorable.

I also really enjoyed Brighton Rock - a darker thriller, but thrilling nonetheless. I'd love to read more Greene, and hopefully this group will help push him up my to-read list!


message 12: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4523 comments Mod
The books by Greene (fiction and non-fiction) I read during my (now lapsed) roughly chronological read, plus a few out of order, are:

The Man Within
The Name of Action (his suppressed second novel, out of print, but available to read online via the Internet Archive)
Stamboul Train
It's a Battlefield
Lord Rochester's Monkey: Being the Life of John Wilmot, Second Earl of Rochester
England Made Me
Journey Without Maps
A Gun for Sale
Brighton Rock
The Confidential Agent
The Lawless Roads
The Power and the Glory
The Ministry of Fear
Twenty-one Stories
The Tenth Man
The Third Man & The Fallen Idol
No Man's Land
The End of the Affair

I've also read some of the others in the more distant past - hope to read some more soon!


message 13: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9815 comments Mod
I've only read The Human Factor, The End of the Affair and Brighton Rock. Affair is easily my favourite out of those.


message 14: by BrokenTune (new)

BrokenTune | 4 comments Oh, wow. I just found this thread and am so happy to see other Greene enthusiasts.

I made a point a couple of years ago to read all of his novels (and the collected short stories), so the list of what I haven't read (plays, etc.) is probably shorter than the list of books I have read.

I've listed reviews and impressions here, should anyone be interested...

Anyway, I'm loving this thread and am looking forward to checking back in soon.


message 15: by Pip (new)

Pip | 1 comments Fantastic to see so much appreciation for Greene. ‘Travels with my aunt’ doesn’t seem to have had a mention yet, nor ‘our man in Havana’ - really funny, satirical, wicked humour. His writing style spans a broad spectrum.

If anyone has any more contemporary equivalents they’ve enjoyed which are Greene-esque would love to hear your recommendations!


message 16: by Roisin (new)

Roisin | 182 comments A great writer! I've read several of his works. I have not read Our Man In Havana but have seen a film version of it. Very funny!


message 17: by Lynaia (new)

Lynaia | 468 comments Roisin wrote: "A great writer! I've read several of his works. I have not read Our Man In Havana but have seen a film version of it. Very funny!"

I loved Our Man in Havana! It's one of my favorites by Graham Greene and I've enjoyed many of his books. I laughed a lot when reading it. Definitely recommend it!


message 18: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 9336 comments Mod
A couple of Greene dramatisations coming up on BBC Radio 4 this weekend....


1. Stamboul Train

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09fj3xf

Dramatised by Jeremy Front

Europe in the 1930s. A dangerous place to be. As the Orient Express rattles its way towards Constantinople, a motley group of people find themselves threatened by intrigue, skulduggery and murderous politics

Directed by Marc Beeby

Greene originally filed Stamboul Train under his 'entertainments' and admitted, in 1974, that he wrote it to make a bit of money. "In Stamboul Train for the first and last time in my life I deliberately set out to write a book to please, one which with luck might be made into a film. The devil looks after his own and I succeeded in both aims"

Set during the 1930's, Stamboul Train takes place upon the iconic Orient Express as it weaves its way through a snowy Europe. It focuses upon a group of travellers who each have a story or secret of their own and whose lives intertwine in a tense thriller. It is a heady cocktail of wit, adventure, mystery, and sexual intrigue. It's brilliantly exciting - people in cars race trains, there are shoot-outs, tense border crossings, interrogations, scamming, seducing, faking, performing, lying, and all of this happening to the backdrop of a journey through Europe.


2. A Burnt-Out Case

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09fxr6b

Querry, a celebrated architect of churches believes himself burnt out: unable to feel anything for his profession, his faith or even the suicide of his mistress.

He journeys to a remote leprosy in Africa: there, he hopes to live in obscurity, unconcerned with the fate of others and to die, but it seems that he may have a second chance to find both happiness and redemption.

The story reflects many of Greene's own personal struggles with his celebrity as a famous 'Catholic' author and his own doubts about his faith.

Nick Warburton has previously adapted two other Greene novels for Radio 4, The Honorary Consul and The Power and The Glory.



message 19: by Roisin (new)

Roisin | 182 comments Thanks for the info Nigeyb.


message 20: by Nigeyb (last edited Dec 07, 2017 05:56AM) (new)

Nigeyb | 9336 comments Mod
Our Mod read discussion for The End of the Affair by Graham Greene will re-open on 1 Jan 2018.

Here's to another wonderful discussion. See you then....

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


Here's a bit more about The End of the Affair.....



The End of the Affair by Graham Greene

"A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses a moment of experience from which to look ahead..."

"This is a record of hate far more than of love," writes Maurice Bendrix in the opening passages of The End of the Affair, and it is a strange hate indeed that compels him to set down the retrospective account of his adulterous affair with Sarah Miles.

Now, a year after Sarah's death, Bendrix seeks to exorcise the persistence of his passion by retracing its course from obsessive love to love-hate. At first, he believes he hates Sarah and her husband, Henry. Yet as he delves further into his emotional outlook, Bendrix's hatred shifts to the God he feels has broken his life, but whose existence at last comes to recognize.


message 21: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 9336 comments Mod
^ 20 pages in and loving it. I'll post more fulsomely tomorrow.


#exciting


message 22: by Emma (new)

Emma (keeperofthearchives) Looking forward to this read... Never read any GG. Pretty embarrassing to admit that actually. I've owned several for YEARS.


message 23: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9815 comments Mod
Emma wrote: "Looking forward to this read... Never read any GG. Pretty embarrassing to admit that actually. I've owned several for YEARS."

I can think of similar authors languishing on my kindle, Emma, don't worry!


message 24: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 9336 comments Mod
Emma wrote: "Looking forward to this read... Never read any GG"

No shame in that Emma - it's impossible to read everything we'd like to try, especially as once you find a writer you enjoy, it's tempting to work through more of their work

This is the second time I have The End of the Affair however it was decades since I first read it and I realise I have forgotten most of it. I cannot remember how the story plays out.


message 25: by Emma (last edited Dec 31, 2017 05:40AM) (new)

Emma (keeperofthearchives) Susan and Nigeyb, thanks for that! It's great to be getting started and having people to discuss it too.


message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

I have not read any Graham Greene for years and have not read The End of the Affair before. I have just read the introducton to my edition written by Ali Smith. Looking forward to this.


message 27: by Patrick (new)

Patrick I have read Brighton Rock, The Heart of the Matter, The Power and the Glory, and, just a few months ago, The Lawless Roads, Greene's travel book about Mexico. This last was interesting because it provided a direct dose of Greene's personality, whoch struck me as quite disagreeable.


message 28: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9815 comments Mod
Patrick wrote: "I have read Brighton Rock, The Heart of the Matter, The Power and the Glory, and, just a few months ago, The Lawless Roads, Greene's travel book about Mexico. This last was interesting because it p..."

That's an interesting comment, Patrick. Two of my favourite authors are Evelyn Waugh and W. Somerset Maugham, but, from all I have read, they were both fairly disagreeable :) I suppose my point is, does an authors personality matter? I think it matters far more now, when authors are expected to be visible on social media, etc. Perhaps one day of Facebook, or Twitter, would have seen a media frenzy...


message 29: by Patrick (new)

Patrick It matters in The Lawless Roads, which is primarily about Greene himself and only secondarily about Mexico. I felt the same way about Death in the Afternoon - primarily about Hemingway, and only secondarily about bullfighting. Maybe when novelists write non-fiction, their personalities come more to the fore.

The combination in Greene's case of prissy self-regard, superiority, and hard-to-credit "religiosity" can be a little much to take.


message 30: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9815 comments Mod
Yes, I take your point, Patrick. When an author is narrating, you get a feel for their personality. I think Greene would have been a difficult man and that obviously came across quite strongly in the book you read!


message 31: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Greene is still a great writer. I've been impressed by all the novels of his that I have read. I plan to read more, and also the multi-volume biography, because he surely led an interesting life. I don't require that I "like" or approve an author as a person; that would shut me off from too much good writing.


message 32: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9815 comments Mod
I have only read Shades of Greene: One Generation of an English Family Shades of Greene One Generation of an English Family by Jeremy Lewis which I read years ago. I will try to dig out my old review. I think the book is worth a re-read, as it was so fascinating.


message 33: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9815 comments Mod
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

My review to the above book - not very good, as I read it some years ago and hadn't quite got to grips with reviewing properly then, but it's a great great and maybe a good starting place, if anyone doesn't quite want to tackle the multi-volume biography just yet!


message 34: by Liz (last edited Jan 03, 2018 01:00AM) (new)

Liz Treacher | 14 comments Patrick wrote: "Greene is still a great writer. I've been impressed by all the novels of his that I have read. I plan to read more, and also the multi-volume biography, because he surely led an interesting life. I..."

Rousseau wrote a whole book Emile or On Education on educating children but abandoned his own to a foundling hospital. When I studied that book at college, I always struggled with knowing he had done that. It's interesting when there is a gap between an author's writing and their life, especially when an author is saying one thing in their writing and acting completely differently in their own life. When the gap becomes too big, I think it can become problematic for the reader.


message 35: by Patrick (new)

Patrick I teach philosophy. Rousseau was a terrible parent! And not an admirable person generally.

The worst major philosopher as a person? Heidegger.

The best major philosopher as a person? Camus.


message 36: by Liz (new)

Liz Treacher | 14 comments I don't know anything about Heidegger, but I agree with you about Camus, Patrick. I think his personality comes over in his novels. It feels as if he is just as exacting on himself as he is on his characters.


message 37: by Patrick (new)

Patrick I am reading Herbert Lottman's huge biography of Camus. Both the book and the man are captivating.


message 38: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 9336 comments Mod
I've never really understood the point of the the Nobel prize for literature however it turns out that our man (in Havana) nearly won it in 1967....

Nobel archives show Graham Greene might have won 1967 prize
Swedish Academy reveals 70 authors were being considered, with the Brighton Rock novelist backed by the chairman before losing out to Miguel Angel Asturias

https://www.theguardian.com/books/201...

The final paragraph of the article suggests a gender bias too...

M Lynx Qualey points out that of the 70 nominated writers in 1967, just five were women: Marie Luise Kaschnitz, Katherine Anne Porter, Anna Seghers, Judith Wright and Lina Kostenko. The most recent female winner, Svetlana Alexievich, who took the prize in 2015, was only the 14th woman to take the laurels since the prize was inaugurated in 1901.


message 39: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9815 comments Mod
The Nobel Prize for Literature has even odder choices than the Man Booker... All of these literary prizes seem very political to me and it is rare indeed (Hilary Mantel is an obvious recent exception) that the book that wins is really wonderful.


message 40: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 9336 comments Mod
Susan wrote: "The Nobel Prize for Literature has even odder choices than the Man Booker... "

Absolutely! A very strange prize.


message 41: by Pages (new)

Pages | 112 comments Article about Graham Green -
https://www.theguardian.com/books/201...


message 42: by Donald (new)

Donald Whiteway | 9 comments Susan wrote: "The Nobel Prize for Literature has even odder choices than the Man Booker... All of these literary prizes seem very political to me and it is rare indeed (Hilary Mantel is an obvious recent excepti..."

I think that often the Nobel is awarded to the author for their body of work instead of one particular title (I could be mistaken....)


message 43: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9815 comments Mod
Donald wrote: "Susan wrote: "The Nobel Prize for Literature has even odder choices than the Man Booker... All of these literary prizes seem very political to me and it is rare indeed (Hilary Mantel is an obvious ..."

I am sure you are right, Donald. I often have a problem with book awards and 'great' authors. I had to struggle through a Saul Bellow book with my book club. We had all heard how wonderful this author was, we all hated it! I will end my life having only read one of his novels as I could never bear to pick up another!


message 44: by Donald (new)

Donald Whiteway | 9 comments Susan wrote: "Donald wrote: "Susan wrote: "The Nobel Prize for Literature has even odder choices than the Man Booker... All of these literary prizes seem very political to me and it is rare indeed (Hilary Mantel..."

Oh Susan, you are so right on Bellow. I didn't even make it through one of his and probably won't try again!


message 45: by Nigeyb (last edited Jan 10, 2018 10:00AM) (new)

Nigeyb | 9336 comments Mod
Possibly Donald


Did Miguel Ángel Asturias warrant the award? That's who Greene lost out to. I wonder how many are still reading the work of Miguel Ángel Asturias now, or even then?


message 46: by Val (new)

Val | 1710 comments I'm not sure that he ever caught on in translation, but he is famous in Latin America.


message 47: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 4865 comments Mod
Yes, the Nobel takes a global view of literature - and not everything translates either commercially or culturally.


message 48: by Donald (new)

Donald Whiteway | 9 comments Nigeyb wrote: "Possibly Donald


Did Miguel Ángel Asturias warrant the award? That's who Greene lost out to. I wonder how many are still reading the work of Miguel Ángel Asturias now..."


That the Nobel is meant to be a global award is sometimes lost on us here in the US. Often the laureate is writing in a language other than English. Not everyone is eager to read translations.....


message 49: by Nigeyb (last edited Jan 10, 2018 01:47PM) (new)

Nigeyb | 9336 comments Mod
Quite an interesting, and relevant, couple of paragraphs on the Wikipedia page...


Although the Nobel Prize in Literature has become the world's most prestigious literature prize, the Swedish Academy has attracted significant criticism for its handling of the award. Many authors who have won the prize have fallen into obscurity, while others rejected by the jury remain widely studied and read. The prize has "become widely seen as a political one - a peace prize in literary disguise", whose judges are prejudiced against authors with different political tastes to them. Tim Parks has expressed skepticism that it is possible for "Swedish professors ... [to] compar[e] a poet from Indonesia, perhaps translated into English with a novelist from Cameroon, perhaps available only in French, and another who writes in Afrikaans but is published in German and Dutch...". As of 2016, 16 of the 113 recipients have been of Scandinavian origin. The Academy has often been alleged to be biased towards European, and in particular Swedish, authors. Some, such as Indian academic Sabaree Mitra, have noted that, though the Nobel Prize in Literature is significant and tends to overshadow other awards, it is "not the only benchmark of literary excellence."

Nobel's "vague" wording for the criteria for the prize has led to recurrent controversy. In the original Swedish, the word idealisk translates as either "idealistic" or "ideal". The Nobel Committee's interpretation has varied over the years. In recent years, this means a kind of idealism championing human rights on a broad scale.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobel_P...


message 50: by Donald (new)

Donald Whiteway | 9 comments Nigeyb wrote: "Quite an interesting, and relevant, couple of paragraphs on the Wikipedia page...


Although the Nobel Prize in Literature has become the world's most prestigious literature prize, the Swedish Acad..."


Very interesting Nigeyb. Thank you for sharing. This is a fascinating discussion......


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