4.19.2005

Questions for Greeneophiles

I'm given to believe that there are several Graham Greene fans around here, and I'm looking for a few recommendations - the first, just your favorite Greene titles, since I feel like adding him to my summer reading list. All I've read thus far is The Comedians. Second, any Greene titles you think might be good for an online upper level community college modern Brit lit class. Any and all input is mightily appreciated.

13 comments:

Confucius said...

Greene...Yes! I'm a huge fan.

My personal favorite is The Quiet American. I've always been intrigued by the structure, and by how deftly he makes the foreign vivid, with so few descriptions of setting.

That would be a good one for class, or I might try The Power and the Glory, with the famous Whiskey Priest as hero. There's a heck of a lot to chew on there. I love the quietness and resignation of the narrative voice.

What I've always admired about Greene was how he straddled the popular and the literary. His work balances the serious and the entertaining in ways, at least for me, few writers can match.

Grendel said...

I really liked The Honorary Consul. A flubbed kidnapping by revolutionaries, a squalid Argentine setting, a brothel, a drunk British consul with a cheating wife, a bewildered doctor in the middle of it all. What's not to like?

El Gordo de Amore said...

The Power and the Glory -- all the way.

And for a class, you could always show them The Third Man, with my all-time favorite movie quote ever -- the "cuckoo clock" speech (and Orson Welles ad-libbed the bastard!).

SER said...

I LOVE GRAHAM GREENE! I'M SHOUTING!

My favorites are The End of the Affair and The Quiet American. Our Man in Havana is also very clever. Greene is masterful at creating the morally murky atmosphere with characters who are equally flawed (albeit in different ways). Graham Greene! Yay!

SER said...

Oh, and also - although The Power and the Glory is widely considered Greene's masterpiece, I myself liked it less than The End of the Affair and The Quiet American.

I also want to echo what Robert says about straddling the serious and the entertaining.

Pete said...

I like Greene most of all for being a brooding Catholic. In that vein, then, my favorite is "Brighton Rock." No one writes evil like the papists write evil.

kclou said...

Big Greene fan. The Power and the Glory (strongly endorsed by Chris Offutt of all people) and The End of the Affair are where I'd start. A great complement to teaching Greene is Andre Dubus, who tackles some largely similar material from a largely different perspective. Two brooding Catholics for you.

Pete said...

Hey, remember that night when a few of us were drinking at George's and Dunkeys disagreed passionately with something Kclou and I were saying? He began to squawk "Absurd!" everytime we paused for breath. But most memorably, he pinched his voice high and called us "little catholic boys." "Look at the little catholic boys, and their silly belief system."

That was awesome. Dunkeys at his most quotable.

Grendel said...

I remember that night, and I wasn't even part of it. I was sitting several tables away, T and I just minding our own business, when we heard somebody delivering a harangue about James Joyce or something. I wanted to come over there and tell whoever it was to chill out, and then I saw it was you guys.

I love it when dunkeys asks you innocently about some book or story and what you think of it, and often it's one many people like, and then you say you thought it was great for this and this reason, and then he explains systematically with that eager smile how you are so very wrong, wrong, wrong about that.

dunkeys said...
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ian said...

Greene rocks. I think everyone's hit the biggies, but I'd also like to suggest A Burnt-Out Case and the impossibly charming Travels With My Aunt.

kclou said...

I remember the little Catholic boys line very well, though I fear that many of those nights at George's have faded into each other. Another classic was the absurd American Pastoral/Moby Dick fight, which also involved Vampiro. People were legitimately upset with each other during that one.

synthetic said...

Quiet American (that looks like a nice milk bar....) and Brighton Rock were my favorites. There's a nice big Penguin collection of his short stories, too. I read him before my mind was invaded by English Lit studies post-1970, though, so you may be much more bothered than I was by his treatment of women.

That said, I'm enjoying the hell out of Durrell's _Justine_. Even having the invaded mind, and all.