Skip to content

Tag: Graham Greene

Feuilleton (6): A reading from Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair

The opening paragraphs of Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair likely resonate with anyone who has tried to tell or write a story. What’s the place where one starts, how much context does one give, how far does one look back? With Greene we get these haunting, memorable opening words: “A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one…

Feuilleton (5): A reading from Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory

Standing out from his bibliography of 26 novels, The Power and the Glory is arguably Graham Greene’s masterpiece. I reviewed this 1940 novel here. In short, we’re presented with the story of a nameless and hunted priest, trying to evade his captors during early twentieth century anti-clerical purges in the Mexican state of Tabasco. (Greene wrote a journalistic account of…

Book Review: The End of the Affair by Graham Greene

Sarah Miles is a saint. She’s also an adulterer who labels herself “a bitch and a fake.” Graham Greene’s 1951 novel The End of the Affair, narrated in the first-person, tells the story of how Sarah’s embittered and fanatically envious ex-lover pursues her following the end of their romance. That plot provides the opening for Greene to explore the themes…

Book Review: Loser Takes All by Graham Greene

Graham Greene referred to his 1955 novella Loser Takes All as a “frivolity.” Yet that shouldn’t lead any reader to think that this book is throwaway pulp fiction. The story of a couple vacationing in Monte Carlo may be light-hearted fare, but the writing includes Greene’s celebrated, signature style: sharp dialogue, economical and precise language that paints a vivid picture,…

Feuilleton (1): A reading from Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock

This is an excerpt from Graham Greene’s 1938 novel Brighton Rock read by me, as part of a new series of audio recordings entitled Feuilleton, sampling works of twentieth century literature.¬†In this scene, the young and naive Rose is grappling with the recent suicide of her sociopath husband — who almost took her down with him along his dark, destructive…

Book Review: Brighton Rock by Graham Greene

A chance encounter can change the course of a life. That’s what happens to Ida Arnold in Graham Greene’s 1938 novel Brighton Rock. On a Whitsun holiday weekend, she has a fling with a frightened stranger on the cusp of death. Sun-drenched Brighton, with throngs of visitors from London enjoying a long weekend by the sea, is the seemingly innocuous…

My article in the National Catholic Reporter — 20th-century Catholic authors in search of grace

This morning the U.S.-based National Catholic Reporter (NCR) published my piece exploring the complicated Catholic faith of four 20th century authors: Greene, O’Connor, Spark and Waugh. These four are iconic twentieth century British and American writers and novelists who I’ve often reviewed on my website. By publishing in NCR, I can share with a broader audience reflections on the faith-based…

Book Review: The Lawless Roads by Graham Greene

The Lawless Roads is as much a reflection on sin, and on how every human is inescapably marked by it, as it is a travel account of Graham Greene’s trip to Mexico in 1938. It’s also a reflection on borders — both physical and metaphysical — and how crossing these boundaries impacts and transforms the individual. The Longman publishing company…

Book Review: The Third Man & The Fallen Idol by Graham Greene

Iconic twentieth century author Graham Greene referred to some of his works somewhat unfairly as “entertainments,” and among these are The Third Man and The Fallen Idol — two novellas published as one volume by Penguin. The Third Man is, in some ways, an archetypal mid-century detective mystery and The Fallen Idol is a psychological thriller. But Greene¬†takes such care…

Book Review: The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene

During a period of intense anti-Catholic persecution, a nameless priest wanders through Mexico as a fugitive, trying to evade authorities that have placed a 700 peso bounty on his head. Stemming from pride, mortification and a sense of pastoral mission, the destitute priest hears confessions, anoints the sick and celebrates Mass in the communities he visits. But is father bringing…