Graham Greene discussion

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GG Short Stories

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message 1: by Jessica (last edited Feb 21, 2011 06:41PM) (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
thought we might discuss some of Greene's short fiction as well. I just came across this one online, 'The Destructors,' which I've yet to read:

http://www.sangam.org/articles/view/?...

It was listed in an article in the Guardian, "A Lesson in Teaching Writing,' as an example of Impact: how to grab the reader's attention and hold it by the scruff of the neck:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/...


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

I will have to find some time to read these...thanks!


message 3: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenmarylesshankman) | 247 comments Mod
Hey, Jessica--did you read "The Destructors" yet?


message 4: by John (new)

John Weller (johnweller) | 49 comments Helen wrote: "Hey, Jessica--did you read "The Destructors" yet?"

I read/studied The Destructors when I was a kid at school. Great story. This and the other stories in this fine anthology of short stories influenced me greatly.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31...

I've still got the book on my shelves at home. No point in giving back now I suppose.


message 5: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenmarylesshankman) | 247 comments Mod
Ha! I guess not.
Lucky you, you studied GG in school. I read The Destructors a couple of years ago, I think it was in 21 Stories. Unusual and deeply powerful. Thanks for the book recommendation.


message 6: by Sketchbook (new)

Sketchbook | 221 comments Yes, it's in GGs "21 Stories." Deeply powful!


message 7: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
Helen wrote: "Hey, Jessica--did you read "The Destructors" yet?"

not yet! (still)
will check back though when I do!


message 8: by Alan (new)

Alan (takingsky) | 21 comments Paperback Percy wrote: "Helen wrote: "Hey, Jessica--did you read "The Destructors" yet?"

I read/studied The Destructors when I was a kid at school. Great story. This and the other stories in this fine anthology of short ..."


Hey I think that book is the one I studied for 'O' level in 1969, and what a line up. The Destructors was fanatastic, but also great were The Machine Stops, Daughters of the Late Colonel, The Secret Sharer, Odour of Crysanthemums - a wonderful collection.


message 9: by Sketchbook (last edited Mar 07, 2011 04:53AM) (new)

Sketchbook | 221 comments My "21" edition starts w The Basement Room, goes on to The End of the Party, The Second Death, When Greek Meets Greek, The Blue Film and ends w The Destructors. == Titles you name aren't there.


message 10: by Alan (new)

Alan (takingsky) | 21 comments Hi Sketchbook, no I wasn't referring to 21 stories (I have that as well), but to the anthology (called Twetieth Century Short Stories, but more properly should be called First Half of the 20th Century Short Stories I think as none of them were written after 1950). It includes The Destructors. That's the one Paperback Percy is referring to:
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31...


message 11: by Sketchbook (last edited Mar 07, 2011 05:13AM) (new)

Sketchbook | 221 comments Ok, thanks. I want to get the Title you cite.


message 12: by Greenelander (new)

Greenelander | 59 comments I'll just add the info about the Penguin omnibus edition to this thread---it's the Collected Stories of GG, running to about 500 pages and including all of his published story collections, plus four "newly collected" stories that don't appear in any of the other collections.

These, along with the sparkling introduction by Pico Iyer, make this volume worth the purchase, IMHO. I also find that having all the stories under one cover makes it easier to dip in and out of early, middle, and late Greene.

It's like a giant box of chocolates, I'm afraid---you can never stop at just one.


message 13: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
okay, for my next book purhcase...


message 14: by Greenelander (new)

Greenelander | 59 comments Oooops, error on the title in my previous post--- it's "Graham Greene: Complete Short Stories". Sorry for any confusion.


message 15: by Kathleen (last edited Apr 14, 2011 06:33AM) (new)

Kathleen | 42 comments Does anyone know of a GG short story that may have served as the basis for The Power and the Glory? I seem to remember reading something like that. Any clues as to what I might be thinking of?


message 16: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenmarylesshankman) | 247 comments Mod
Hm. Don't remember that, but it doesn't mean it's not true. There's a story about a gringo tourist who buys a lottery ticket in a small Mexican town, and when he wins, people ask him to donate the money for some cause in the town. He doesn't really understand what they're saying, feeling generous, he says yes, and it causes awful things to happen. Could that be it?


message 17: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
Greenelander, I concur. I've bought the GG complete stories and Pico Iyer's introduction is excellent.


Not so much Paul Theroux. I also bought 'Journey Without Maps' and I find Theroux's introduction irksome. Yes, you know more about Africa, yes, Greene was an ingenue at the time...but your arrogant tone grates. Has anyone else read this book?


message 18: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenmarylesshankman) | 247 comments Mod
I haven't read that one. How is it?


message 19: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
well I haven't started it yet, just the intro. Will let you know what I think.


message 20: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenmarylesshankman) | 247 comments Mod
Thanks. Paul Theroux wrote an obituary for GG too, not terribly nice.


message 21: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
it's hard not to read it as professional rivalry/jealousy as Theroux is such a renowned travel writer.

I just found it really off-putting.


message 22: by Ben (last edited May 16, 2011 08:31AM) (new)

Ben | 34 comments Michael Gorra's introduction to The End of the Affair is presumptuous and condescending. He's a no-name writer, but it looks like he's done some editing? Perhaps that's why Penguin chose him? I usually prefer introductions from other writers, as opposed to editors. I can't wait to read Coetzee's intro for Brighton Rock (I'm going to read it when I'm finished with the novel, in order to avoid spoilers). Coetzee's pretty amazing in his own right.


message 23: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
"pretty amazing in his own right"?

He's a fucking genius!

;-)

His intro. is brilliant, of course. You'll enjoy it.
I agree about writers vs. editors doing introductions, yet Theroux is one. He just happens to be a condescending one as well...


message 24: by Jessica (last edited May 16, 2011 08:48AM) (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
Ben, I hope you'll post in the Brighton Rock thread when you're done?
late doesn't matter...


message 25: by Ben (new)

Ben | 34 comments Good idea. I'll post something right now. Thanks.


message 26: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
Great!
thanks.


message 27: by Sketchbook (last edited May 16, 2011 06:12PM) (new)

Sketchbook | 221 comments The many threads to GG lost me, but: Paul Theroux is a dick-hed.


message 28: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
you say this based on...?
what you've read by him, about him, all of the above?


message 29: by Sketchbook (last edited May 16, 2011 06:21PM) (new)

Sketchbook | 221 comments Ok. Always honest. "All of the above." Plus instinct. Damn good writer. But hot snot. If wrong, I'd like to be cx'd.


message 30: by Jessica (last edited May 16, 2011 06:27PM) (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
yeah, a good writer, but --


I read his memoir where he eviscerated Naipaul.
But then, Naipaul sounds thoroughly unlikeable.

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


message 31: by Sketchbook (last edited May 16, 2011 06:29PM) (new)

Sketchbook | 221 comments I am wary when writers review writers of similar genre, but that's how jlism works. Jlism is, of course, corrupt. GG knew this. You can't fight this fact, it's just there to deal with -- hopefully on one's terms.


message 32: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
i am going to start The Sketchbook Dictionary.

It took me awhile to figure out what jlism was.

Got it now.


message 33: by Sketchbook (last edited May 16, 2011 06:43PM) (new)

Sketchbook | 221 comments I'm not saying jlism is dishonest. Nope. I am saying it is corrupt. Publisher gets word from X-exec or editor hears from Y-biggie...It's a field that attracts fun, lively, curious people, but most aren't very 'smart' or worldly. Many are dumb. -- (I love the Sketch-ary!)


message 34: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
I finally read Greene's story, "The Destructors," mentioned earlier on a thread I'm too lazy to look for now...

a devastating short story.


message 35: by Sketchbook (new)

Sketchbook | 221 comments Jessica, your Liner is v funny. Who can find all the threads...? Best not to try..


message 36: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
yeah, who can find a stray thread? much too tangled to try...


message 37: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
and yet...look above, message #1 of this thread...there it be!


message 38: by John (new)

John Weller (johnweller) | 49 comments Jessica wrote: "I finally read Greene's story, "The Destructors," mentioned earlier on a thread I'm too lazy to look for now...

a devastating short story."


Smashing


message 39: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
indeed.



pun intended?


message 40: by John (new)

John Weller (johnweller) | 49 comments Jessica wrote: "indeed.

pun intended?"


Undoubtedly


message 41: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenmarylesshankman) | 247 comments Mod
I loved the way we are not really told why T might want to pull down the house, though it's hinted at, and the ambiguous, chilling evil of the children.
Incidentally, I read that GG's wife, Vivien, didn't like this story because she felt it was him destroying their house.

Percy, did you study this in school? What did they tell you about it?


message 42: by Jessica (last edited Jun 29, 2011 04:40AM) (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
Well, I think the fact that T's father is an architect is really key.


undoing--in the worst possible way--his father's work, all that is meaningful to him

and one senses class as well, T is obviously from a different class, there's rebellion there, and deep-rooted nihilism


message 43: by Jessica (last edited Jun 29, 2011 04:38AM) (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
the other children are not so evil. T alone is. The act is so much greater than anything else they had ever done.

He seems sociopathic in his utter and complete lack of empathy.


message 44: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenmarylesshankman) | 247 comments Mod
I felt also that it might be related to his family's coming down in the world, like he wanted to destroy anything that was still lovely.


message 45: by Sketchbook (new)

Sketchbook | 221 comments This is truly a 'disturbing' story...does the bio discuss it at all, Helen??


message 46: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenmarylesshankman) | 247 comments Mod
I'm sure it does. I'll look it up later. Gotta get kids off to camp and drink more coffee.


message 47: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
Helen, how many kids do you have and what ages? (when you get back)


message 48: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
on reading the bio: it's so voluminous, so detailed, I'd worry--for me--that it would undo some of the mystery and power of reading Graham Greene's fiction.


message 49: by Sketchbook (new)

Sketchbook | 221 comments It's the sort of blabber-bio writing that I'm opposed to. That X had a migraine lasting for 15 mins in 1933 is of no interest. Filler stuff.


message 50: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 412 comments Mod
I happen like a well-written biography...but I don't want to read about each and every detail of a writer's life. And I prefer fiction--to a large extent--to stand on its own. I think story has tremendous power and it cannot be equaled--no matter how interesting it may be--by knowing the ins and outs of where the story derived in the author's life. There is--it seems to me--much of fiction that is essentially mysterious. And ought to remain so.

Yeah, I'm religious that way.


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