Henry Graham Greene was a writer from England who wrote many novels, as well as some plays, travel books, autobiographies, shortstories, literary and film criticisms, and treatments for film. Many of his novels were made into movies. He's a writer whose works are beginning to greatly influence my writing and are causing me to become a writer of maturer fiction topics.
This page provides a central location for information related to this topic which is special to me and this site. It will link you to related articles, photo albums, and musings, if any.
Below are books that I have read or recommend related to this topic. Clicking on the name of the book will usually take you to the page of the publisher describing the book.
- The Man Within The first published novel by Greene, it's a fast moving story about a smuggler who has betrayed his fellow smuggler friends. He's hunted by them and despised by the police and others for his betrayal. The human elements and the plot are not very enjoyable, but it is interesting to see Greene early style in writing.
- Stamboul Train This is one of Greene's first novel (his fourth published) and it shows. But despite not being as well written as his later works, it still is a good read and a quick one—it's interesting to see how much better written it is than his first one . It tracks the famous Orient Express train going from the French coast near England to Vienna and onto Turkey. The plot involves a host of somewhat unusual characters who turn out to be fairly normal in their varied ways. This becomes a common way of many of Greene's characters.
- A Gun for Sale
- Brighton Rock Graham Greene gained notoriety with this novel. It was a break through for him, begining his style of writing about troubled people and seemingly uncommon psychology. It's well done, but not my favorite of Greene's novels. I like how it's written, but not the content so much. It's about a young man who's the leader of a small gang. It involves some violence and murder, which are graphically described. However, I don't like the idea of people being physically injured by their supposed friends.
- The Confidential Agent
- The Ministry of Fear
- The Heart of the Matter This novel is probably Greene's best novel at presenting seemingly normal people in emotionally disturbed circumstances, showing how people can do terrible things, how otherwise good logic and values can lead to terrible situations. Extremely well written, this is one of my favorite novels by Greene.
- The Third Man
- The End of the Affair This book is passionate and daring. It involves a man (Bendrix) who is jealous of his lover who's married to a casual friend o his. Years after their relationship ended abruptly, her husband confides in him about his suspicions that she's cheating on him. He wants to hire a private investigator to spy on her. Instead, Bendrix hires the detective to spy on her because he is jealous. The story involves jealous, hatred between lovers, and other normally socially unacceptable but common emotions.
- The Quiet American Set in Viet Nam before the U.S. became involved, it depicts a young American who attempts to meddle in the internal affairs of the country. The narrator is a british journalist whose Vietnamese girlfriend is pursued romantically by the American. Although I didn't find it as comfortable a read as some of Greene's other books, it is well done.
- Our Man in Havana This is Greene's most humorous novels. The main character is a vacumn cleaner salesman in Cuba. He's recruited by British intelligence to provide information on the Cuban military's activites. His problem is that he is that he doesn't know anything worth reporting. However, for fear of losing this side income, he provides false reports to the British government, which only make things worse for him.
- A Burnt-out Case A well written novel, it depicts a person who is depressed. What's interesting to me about this character is that his depression would seem unfounded and unexpected given his life and circumstances. In this way he has some similarities to the main character of my second novel.
- The Commedians
- The Human Factor
- The Tenth Man A short novel about ten prisoners in a German prison in France during the second world war. The soldiers have decided to kill two of the men and decide to let the men decide amongst themselves who will be executed. They draw straws to decide who will die. One of the two chosen, though, is wealthy and offers his fortune to trade places with someone. I found the story to be very frustrating as it follows the wealthy man through his life without his wealth.
Below are films that I have seen or recommend related to this topic. Clicking on the name of the book will usually take you to the page of IMDB.com's site describing the film.
- Confidential Agent (1945)
- The Third Man (1949)
- The Heart of the Matter (1953)
- Our Man in Havana (1959)
- The Comedians (1967)
- The Tenth Man (1988)
- The End of the Affair (1999)
- The Quiet American (2002)
This movie is very true to the book, with a few minor deviations or enhancements that improve the story and make it better for cinema. Normally, reading a boook first or watching a film first will steal the other's thunder. In this case, the director's interpretation and presentation of the novel gives the story a different feel. It doesn't matter which one you experience first, both are equally good on their own; both are excellent.