Graham Greene discussion

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Greene reviews

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message 1: by Greenelander (new)

Greenelander | 59 comments Maybe a new thread is in order, where we can file or link to reviews of GG either on or off Goodreads, love 'em or hate 'em.

I happen to like this tongue-in-cheek review of Heart of the Matter. The references to the Four Seasons and Supremes add a certain charm, no? Heh.

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...


message 2: by Ben (last edited Mar 12, 2010 01:44PM) (new)

Ben | 34 comments I just read The Heart of the Matter and I think he's rather off target. If I get more time, I'll break down the parts of his review I disagree with...


message 3: by Greenelander (new)

Greenelander | 59 comments Ben, I agree---even though he made some good points, the review was not quite on the mark, and I would take issue with his 3-star rating. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the use of the song titles.


message 4: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenmarylesshankman) | 247 comments Mod
I just finished reading It's a Battlefield, one of GG's less-read books, over the weekend. I posted the review, but since this is a group of GG fans, I thought I'd post it here, too--my apologies if you receive this twice.

It's London, between the wars, 1934. A man has killed a policeman during a strike; a riot had broken out, the bobby was poised to hit the striking workman's wife, and he instinctively defended her with his pocket knife.

The workman's name is Jim Drover. He's been sentenced to hang. An aging Assistant Commissioner, recently returned from the East, has been asked by a Minister to report to him on the pulse of the people; this has nothing to do with sentiment, or justice, he's up for reelection, and he wants to know if the workers will riot if the workman is hanged, or will they feel the Minister is weak if he is reprieved.

Drover's suffering wife has a sister who just wants to find a man and have a good time, and the condemned worker has a brother, Conrad, who loves him deeply, but who is also hopelessly in love with his brother's wife. There is Communist leader in love with the ideas of Equality and The People, not so much the people themselves. And a reporter who has invented so many lives for himself that he sometimes forgets which is the real one.

This is Greeneland; there are no happy endings waiting for anyone. Instead, there are questions to trouble the conscience. Conrad is the main character in the book, his thoughts laying out the major themes. Jim received a poor defense, the lawyer himself barely cared. If he is reprieved, he will be in jail for 18 years. Who will support his young wife? How can she possibly be expected to be loyal to him, allowed to see him only once a month for all those years? With this kind of justice, is it better for Jim to hang, and free her, or to live on in prison, knowing that his beloved will betray him, again and again? Is the equality for Everyman that Communism promises at meetings a possibility, or a fantasy to keep the worker occupied while the real powers, people with money and influence, keep blithely doing whatever it is they've always done?

This is a beautiful, bitter little story. GG worked as a sub-editor at the Times, and in some ways, this is a love letter to London at this particular time in his life. The gifts of his compassion, his sympathy for all victims, and the beauty of his language are all very much on display here. It's a Battlefield may not be one of GG's major books, but it's a terrific snapshot of the concerns and anxieties consuming pre-World War II England, full of passions and ideas to stir the heart.


message 5: by Jen (new)

Jen (missonethousandspringblossoms) | 39 comments Is this where we should link to our Greene reviews? I know Ben and Jessica and Dave Russell have some really good ones. I think I have written three reviews so far of Greene books...still working on one for Burnt Out Case, though.


message 6: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenmarylesshankman) | 247 comments Mod
Jen wrote: "Is this where we should link to our Greene reviews? I know Ben and Jessica and Dave Russell have some really good ones. I think I have written three reviews so far of Greene books...still working..."

I would love to see the group's reviews of GG's books.


message 7: by Jen (new)

Jen (missonethousandspringblossoms) | 39 comments Maybe we should go book by book- then anyone looking for group user reviews on here could do so easier? I'm not sure how to go about that. I'm very low tech.

The Power and the Glory
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

The End of the Affair
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

The Man Within
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

I am not adding this comment to my update feed, for fear that some might think this a review float parade. No one go crazy now. Mardi Gras is over.


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