The Captain and The Enemy by Graham Greene (1988)

Of the Captain I have heard nothing for years, and Liza, whom I left of my own accord, I see only from time to time, always with a sense of guilt. It’s not because of any love I feel for them. It is as though I had taken them quite coldbloodedly as fictional characters to […]

Monsignor Quixote by Graham Greene (1982)

‘Your glass, monsignor.’ ‘I have asked you not to call me monsignor.’ ‘Then why not call me comrade – I prefer it to Sancho.’ ‘In recent history, Sancho, too many comrades have been killed by comrades. I don’t mind calling you friend. Friends are less apt to kill each other.’ ‘Isn’t friend going a little […]

Doctor Fischer of Geneva or The Bomb Party by Graham Greene (1980)

They all drank. I could tell they were more than a little intoxicated – it was only I who seemed hopelessly condemned to the sadness of sobriety however much I drank. I left my glass empty. I was determined to drink no more before I was at home alone and I could drink myself to […]

The Human Factor by Graham Greene (1978)

He told himself that he was a free man, that he had no duties any longer and no obligations, but he had never felt such an extreme solitude as he felt now. (p.215) Greene was 74 the year this novel was published. The pace of the book is slow and steady and unhurried, the opposite […]

The Honorary Consul by Graham Greene (1973)

‘Contrary to common belief the truth is nearly always funny. It’s only tragedy which people bother to imagine or invent.’ (p.21) Greene in the 1970s Greene was 69 when this novel was published, entering his fifth decade of astonishing productivity – an output which included prize-winning novels, short stories, Oscar-winning film scripts and plays – […]

Travels With My Aunt by Graham Greene (1969)

I was sunk deep in my middle age. All the same I laid my head against aunt Agatha’s breast. ‘I have been happy,’ I said, ‘but I have been so bored for so long.’ (p.256) This is quite a long (260 pages), slow, calm, easy-going comedy, very relaxed, very funny, very enjoyable. Greene’s periods Looking […]

The Comedians by Graham Greene (1966)

She laughed and held me still and kissed me. I responded as well as I could, but the corpse in the pool seemed to turn our preoccupations into comedy. The corpse of Dr Philipot belonged to a more tragic theme; we were only a sub-plot affording a little light relief. (p.57) The Comedians is Greene’s […]

A Burnt-Out Case by Graham Greene (1960)

‘At the end you find you haven’t even got a self to express. I have no interest in anything any more , Doctor.’… ‘When a man comes here too late the disease has to burn itself out.’ (p.46) ‘Querry may be also a burnt-out case,’ the doctor said… [Burnt-out cases are] the lepers who lose […]

Our Man In Havana by Graham Greene (1958)

A fine comic novel which, like Loser Takes All, keeps a good-humoured smile on your face as it leads you through a succession of humorous or farcical episodes. Because of the dated way people speak it’s difficult not to see it as a black-and-white Ealing comedy and the book was in fact made into a […]

Loser Takes All by Graham Greene (1955)

Greene refers to this long short story as a ‘frivolity’ in the dedication. It is short and surprisingly funny. Plot summary Loser Takes All is narrated in the first person by Bertram, an accountant in a large industrial concern. Called in by the Chief Executive, the ‘Grand Old Man’ (Mr Dreuther), to fix an accounting […]