Graham Greene discussion

Next book to read?

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message 1: by Tim (new)

Tim (hypeparty) | 3 comments I recently read The Heart of the Matter and it is now one of my favorite novels. What would be a good next step? I read about half of Travels With My Aunt but had to stop reading because I got busy with work.

message 2: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenmarylesshankman) | 247 comments Mod
It's one of my favorites, too. His collected short stories are every bit as good as the novels, a real revelation, each one a perfect jewel, exploring every dark corner of the human condition. If you liked THE HEART OF THE MATTER, you might like THE POWER AND THE GLORY or THE QUIET AMERICAN next. THE END OF THE AFFAIR is also extremely powerful. You can't go wrong with any of them.

message 3: by Par (new)

Par | 2 comments Hi,

I reread the Human factor the last few days. It is great. I definitely recommend it. Now, I will try The confidential agent.

message 4: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenmarylesshankman) | 247 comments Mod
I just finished "A Burnt Out Case." It was terrific! Beautifully constructed. A real jewel. Has anybody else read it?

message 5: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
I am just starting it, so I can't post anything yet. I loved 'The Heart of the Matter' and 'The End of the Affair,' which I read recently, and a friend strongly recommended this one, so...

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm finishing up Waugh's Vile Bodies, and Green's Heart of the Matter is up next. I've been wanting to read it for months now. After that, I'll probably read Brighton Rock, to finish up the "Catholic books." Have read Monsignor Quixote, The Power and the Glory, and The End of the Affair. Have not read Burnt Out Case yet, but Greene is still fairly new to me. I'm not sure what I'd read after Brighton Rock. I'd appreciate any suggestions. Should you read Greene in any particular order? He seems to have quite the variety.

message 7: by Torben (new)

Torben Carlsen (torbencarlsen) | 7 comments I have been a Graham Greene fan since I was a teenager so I cannot precisely remember all his books. I have each one in Danish translation. As newly read I enjoyed very much "The Captain and the Enemy" and I often reflect on his 1929 short story "The End Of the Party". Furthermore one of my favorite movies is "The Third Man". What a script and what a film!!

message 8: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
Torben, I have his collection of stories out from the library, so I'll look for "The End of the Party."

message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Great suggestions. Thanks.

message 10: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenmarylesshankman) | 247 comments Mod
"Brighton Rock" was a tough read for me. I'll be interested in hearing how you feel about it. The last one I read, "A Burnt-Out Case" had a lot of discussion about Catholicism and faith as well.I think I'm going to try to read "The Comedians" next.

message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Why was Brighton Rock a tough read?

message 12: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenmarylesshankman) | 247 comments Mod
I found Pinky to be a very cold, hard, character. It was difficult for me to keep reading a story with a main character that was so unsympathetic. Still, it's Graham Greene, the characters and setting are beautifully described and written, and the comparison between good and evil and right and wrong are compelling, and I finished it anyway, because, hey, difficult Graham Greene is still Graham Greene.

message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

Hmmm. Maybe I should wait on that one. I just started Heart of the Matter.

message 14: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenmarylesshankman) | 247 comments Mod
It's amazing. Enjoy. I just re-read a few pages of it and had to put it down, it was so powerful.

message 15: by Jessica (last edited Jan 15, 2010 10:36AM) (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
I loved Heart of the Matter. I'm finding A Burnt-Out Case slower going....

message 16: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenmarylesshankman) | 247 comments Mod
Keep going. It's worth it.

message 17: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
will do.

message 18: by Greenelander (new)

Greenelander | 59 comments Long ago I abandoned Brighton Rock for reasons similar to HMS but should probably give it another go now, as it's possible to grow into a book. Loved Burnt Out Case and End of the Affair, currently rereading The Quiet American.

message 19: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenmarylesshankman) | 247 comments Mod
I feel guilty badmouthing a book so many people have said so many good things about. I don't want to discourage anybody from reading it--it was just difficult for me. Right now I'm reading "The Comedians" and loving it.

message 20: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
LOVED IT: A Burnt Out Case.
please, everyone read it, so we can discuss it.

a friend who recommended it to me described it as a perfect novel, and perhaps it is. it grew on me slowly but

message 21: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenmarylesshankman) | 247 comments Mod
I agree! It's a real puzzle box, the way all the pieces are introduced, developed, then come suddenly, devastatingly together. They should use this to teach writing structure in school.

message 22: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
yes, exactly. and furthermore it's not glaringly obvious; the conclusion isn't transparent, the structure not so apparent. It's a short novel but there is a lot of meat, it doesn't race to its end. it would be wonderful to teach...

message 23: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
oddly, too, it has a "happy" ending. of sorts.

message 24: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenmarylesshankman) | 247 comments Mod
One of the things I loved about this book is the way he leads you up a particular, familiar path--in this case, Querry with Rycker's young wife--and then he comes up with something completely unexpected and original. And what you said about how it doesn't race to its end, that's a great way to describe it. It unfolds at the pace of real life.

message 25: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
yes, I agree. I really like Greene's women. I think he has tremendous respect--and love--for women. It shows. I don't always love them (the lover in The Heart of the Matter , for ex.) but they are real to me. And varied. Not all versions of the same one...

message 26: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenmarylesshankman) | 247 comments Mod
From reading his biography and letters, I would absolutely agree with you. He really does have tremendous love and respect for women.

message 27: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
what is great is that it comes through in his fiction. I'd like to read the biography and letters, but I'd like to read more of his fiction first...

message 28: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
I like this quote from his page on wiki:

"In a letter to his wife Vivien he told her that he had "a character profoundly antagonistic to ordinary domestic life", and that "unfortunately, the disease is also one's material"."

message 29: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenmarylesshankman) | 247 comments Mod
Good idea. The problem with knowing about his life, is that when you read one of the books, you know too much about where he got the material. It definitely inserts itself into the reading.

message 30: by Greenelander (new)

Greenelander | 59 comments Yeah, well, GG really did love women. Lots and lots of lots of women.

message 31: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
and they loved him

I can see why--

message 32: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenmarylesshankman) | 247 comments Mod
Hey. I was going to write that.

message 33: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod

we agree.

message 34: by Jessica (last edited Jan 21, 2010 06:47AM) (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
so, HMS, is there anything you haven't read by him? that you want to?

I'm reading 'The Quiet American' but since I'm back at work now, am going slowly--

message 35: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenmarylesshankman) | 247 comments Mod
Oh, lots. I'm reading "The Comedians" right now, and it's particularly haunting because of what's going on in Haiti. I'm not sure what's after that.Maybe "Our Man in Havana," or "Orient Express." It's a great luxury to be able to have so many choices,that he wrote so many books.

message 36: by Torben (new)

Torben Carlsen (torbencarlsen) | 7 comments Inspired by your conversation (Kathleen, HMS and Jessica) I will re-read "The Heart Of the Matter". I think it's roughly 40 years ago I first read it. That concerns almost any GG book. What a treasury I have in advance!

message 37: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
that's great Torben!

message 38: by Torben (new)

Torben Carlsen (torbencarlsen) | 7 comments I have only read about 60 pages, but it's even better than I remembered. G.G. is a master in metaphoric (is that the right word) style and that counts for many of his books. I feel sympathy both for Scobie and his wife. What a life in that heat, you can almost feel the humidity on your own body even if it's frosty weather here. I think he loves his wife, but rather under different circumstances. He has, I guess, on that subject a problem with his conscience.

message 39: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
you're making me want to read it again and I read it only a month or so ago! He is so good with setting, I agree about the heat...and about Scobie's wife. I liked how sympathetic he made her. Even though I myself didn't like her, I felt sympathetic toward her. and that's because of Scobie's own feelings for her.

message 40: by Torben (new)

Torben Carlsen (torbencarlsen) | 7 comments You're right. Scobie is very caring for her and that must be a sign of love. I think the climate in the book is one of the principal characters. The act of Scobie and Louise is due to the heat, I think. In 1962 G.G. wrote "In Search Of a Character", two diaries from West Africa: Belgian Congo (A Burnt Out Case) and Sierra Leone (The Heart Of the Matter). I must read that later.

message 41: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenmarylesshankman) | 247 comments Mod
I just finished "The Comedians." It was great--of course it was, he could be writing about folding laundry and it would bring tears to your eye. It takes place during the brutal, corrupt regime of Papa Doc Duvalier, one of his political novels, like "The Quiet American" and "The Human Factor." (Though I have to admit, I liked both of those better.)

It was eerie reading about Haiti--Port au Prince and Petionville have been in the news all week with stories and pictures of the devastation due to the earthquake--it definitely gave the story more immediacy. On another level, it was fascinating to read about the relationship between Brown and his married lover, Martha. Brown can't believe his mistress is loyal to him--after all, she cheats on her husband, who's to say she's not cheating on her lover? Whenever they are together, he manages to pick their happiness apart. Apparently, this insecurity was a tragic flaw in GG's love affair with Catherine Walston, and the way he mercilessly describes his own failings is quite touching.

message 42: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenmarylesshankman) | 247 comments Mod
Hey--Graham Greene fans. Those of you who write, check out this competition!

message 43: by [deleted user] (last edited Jan 28, 2010 08:12AM) (new)

Alas, I am only a medical writer. HM, you should enter this contest at some point. Are you thinking of it?

By the way, I just finished the intro to Heart of the Matter and it was chock-full of spoilers. I'm not going to read intros anymore.

message 44: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
Kathleen, I'm so sorry you had that experience! try to forget it now, if you can....My 1940 edition from the library had nothing by way of introduction, what a great way to enter that novel~

message 45: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenmarylesshankman) | 247 comments Mod
Yeah, I'm going to enter. I have a couple of train-related things I could try. I know what you mean about intros--I've stopped reading intros until after I finish the book.

message 46: by [deleted user] (new)

Jessica wrote: "and they loved him

I can see why--"

Yes, I hate to sound so shallow but I love that photo of Greene as a young man (the one where his eyes are looking to the right and his forehead is slightly crinkled). He is hauntingly handsome.

message 47: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
I don't know that photo, if you have a link can you post it?

message 48: by Helen (last edited Jan 28, 2010 09:03AM) (new)

Helen (helenmarylesshankman) | 247 comments Mod
Is that the one that's on the cover of the biography? He's pretty in that one, too.

message 49: by [deleted user] (new)

Yes, on volume 1 of the Sherry biography. It looks like the same picture that I'm thinking of, which is on the cover of The GG Film Reader. I'm sure that his good looks were a mere fraction of his appeal.

Here's a link for Jessica:

message 50: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
thank you, yes: a mere fraction of his appeal

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