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England Made Me
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Hot books/small group reads > England Made Me: Graham Greene

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Greg | 330 comments I've started reading England Made Me by Graham Greene. First published in 1935.

I've become a keen fan of Graham Greene, partly because his writing has a cinematic visual narrative which really appeals to me.

So far I've read:
The Human Factor
The Tenth Man
No Man's Land
and Brighton Rock

I've also started reading Graham Greene: A Life in Letters, the introduction by Richard Greene (no relation) is very interesting, and reveals that Graham Greene was bipolar. Graham Greene's letters are divided into the times when he was writing a novel, so one can go to the section of, for example The Human Factor where one can learn some very interesting facts about that part of Greene's life. I was surprised to learn that the FBI had a file on him.

England Made Me is a short book of 207 pages, a novella. The story is about a brother and sister, twins that couldn't be more different in character. The sister Kate is mature and responsible, the brother, Anthony, is the opposite, but they are close. This looks like it is going to be another good read from Graham Greene.


message 2: by Nigeyb (new) - added it

Nigeyb ^ Thanks Greg. I hope to read this book sometime soon. I think it would also make a great Group Read too.


message 3: by Mike (last edited Oct 31, 2014 06:27AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mike Robbins (mikerobbins) | 39 comments I read England Made Me over 30 years ago but I was most impressed with it, and I remember it well. I also remember that the edition I read had a cover illustration that summed up both Krogh and Anthony, and their relationship, perfectly... let's see if I can add it:
England Made Me by Graham Greene
Yes! Bingo. The faces are just right.


message 4: by Nicole (new)

Nicole | 22 comments I too am a Graham Greene fan, though I haven't read this particular one. I'm pretty sure he got his FBI file at least partly because of The Quiet American, which, along with The Honorary Consul, is perhaps my favorite Greene.


message 5: by Mike (last edited Nov 01, 2014 09:56AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mike Robbins (mikerobbins) | 39 comments That sounds logical; the US cannot have been crazy about that book. He was (he said) excluded from the US at one time, but got in anyway as a Panamanian officer or suchlike for the signing of the Canal treaty. Or maybe my memory is faulty. Anyway, he wrote about it in Getting to Know the General: The Story of an Involvement - again, a long time since I read it, but I enjoyed it.


Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 931 comments Greg, I'm a fan of Graham Greene too and definitely agree with you about the cinematic quality of his work - it's fascinating to watch films of his books shortly after reading them.

I have been slowly reading through his books chronologically, though I've stalled in the last few months and need to get back to him. I read England Made Me last year and thought it was a powerful story - I remember being impressed by the down-at-heel journalist Minty, as well as Anthony Farrant.

A Life in Letters sounds interesting. I've read the first volume of the biography by Norman Sherry, The Life of Graham Greene, Vol. 1: 1904-1939, and will hopefully get on to the later volumes at some point.


Greg | 330 comments First, a brief word on Graham Greene: A Life in Letters. Here is a selection of some of the names Greene wrote letters to: Christopher Isherwood, Evelyn Waugh, Kurt Vonnegut, Anthony Burgess, Mervyn Peake, Anthony Powell, Muriel Spark, George Orwell, John Betjemin, Dame Edith Sitwell, Kim Philby, Fidel Castro, Roald Dahl, Shirley Hazzard.

So, yes this is a book that would interest any Greene fan.
One thing I found very funny was… 'Around 1958, Greene started a novel about school life, but found the subject so grim that he abandoned it in favour of leprosy. The novel that came from this experience, A Burnt-Out Case, was published in 1961.'

England Made Me. Half way through. Very good, some interesting characters, Anthony, Erik Krogh, Minty.

Here's a good quote from the book. "Those we love we forget, it is those we betray we remember."

There is a clue to why Anthony is a naturally happy soul, considering he has no security and lives off his wits. "But the years had trained him to be thankful for the moment, not to look forward."

Erik Krogh, a well drawn character. There are several passages through the first half of the book about Krogh that sounds like he could have Asperger's. "He paused to examine the stone; no instinct told him whether it was good art or bad art; he did not understand."
And again, "How does one speak to people? How does one address a man with different interests, different standards?


message 8: by Nigeyb (new) - added it

Nigeyb Going camping next week and taking this with me - along with The Trigger: Hunting the Assassin Who Brought the World to War (which I need to finish), Bitten by the Tarantula and Other Writing, and The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins. Not sure which I'll read next but if it's this one I'll be straight back to revive this thread.


Greg | 330 comments Nigeyb wrote: "^ Thanks Greg. I hope to read this book sometime soon. I think it would also make a great Group Read too."

Look forward to your thoughts on England Made Me. I'm sure it would be a very good Group Read. Considering it is 200 plus pages there is much here for a great discussion.
I have The Ministry of Fear on the short list to read soon.


message 10: by Nigeyb (new) - added it

Nigeyb ^ I have yet to get to it Greg having been leading a youth group on a camping trip for a week. I managed a few more pages of The Trigger: Hunting the Assassin Who Brought the World to War - and that was it. I should add that The Trigger: Hunting the Assassin Who Brought the World to War is splendid. I'm really enjoying it.


message 11: by Greg (new) - rated it 4 stars

Greg | 330 comments Judy wrote: "Greg, I'm a fan of Graham Greene too and definitely agree with you about the cinematic quality of his work - it's fascinating to watch films of his books shortly after reading them.

I have been sl..."


Judy, yes so true, Minty is an interesting important character, a longtime expat English journalist. In Part III, the detail about the spider Minty has trapped under his toothbrush glass for several days, kept there to study it. I wonder what this represents?
Anthony Farrant is modelled on Herbert Greene, Graham's brother.

Looking over my notes, and refreshing my memory about this book, it would be well worth reading it again. I gave it four stars, if I read it again I think I would give it five stars.


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