The unquiet Englishman A life of Graham Greene

Richard Greene, 1961-

Book - 2021

"A vivid, deeply researched account of the tumultuous life of one of the twentieth century's greatest novelists, the author of The End of the Affair. Graham Greene lived a life as strange and compelling as those in his brilliant novels. A journalist and MI6 officer, Greene sought out the inner narratives of war and politics across the world; he witnessed the Second World War, the Vietnam War, the Mau Mau Rebellion, the rise of Fidel Castro, and the guerrilla wars of Central America. Hi...s classic novels, including The Heart of the Matter and The Quiet American, are only pieces of a career that reads like a primer on the twentieth century itself. With wit, keen understanding, and compassion informed by recently surfaced letters and new memoirs from Graham Greene's contemporaries, Richard Greene creates a nuanced portrait of a complicated man. An Unquiet Englishman delves into the conflicts that defined Greene-marriage, promiscuity, faith, and mental illness-to bring fresh insights to his work. This sensitive, fascinating biography sheds new light on one of the foremost modern writers"--

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Subjects
Genres
Biography
Biographies
Published
New York, NY : W. W. Norton & Company, Inc 2021.
Edition
First American edition
Language
English
Item Description
"Originally published in the UK under the title Russian roulette: the life and times of Graham Greene"
Physical Description
xvi, 591 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN
9780393084320
0393084329
Main Author
Richard Greene, 1961- (author)
  • Machine generated contents note:
  • 1.
  • The Dog in the Pram
  • 2.
  • Flight
  • 3.
  • Backwards Day
  • 4.
  • The Revolver
  • 5.
  • Casual Corpses
  • 6.
  • Marriage
  • 7.
  • Rats in the Thatch
  • 8.
  • The Devil Looks After His Own
  • 9.
  • Minty Stepped on Board
  • 10.
  • In Zigi's Town
  • 11.
  • Raven
  • 12.
  • My Worst Film
  • 13.
  • Shirley Temple
  • 14.
  • Real Brighton
  • 15.
  • The Lawless Roads
  • 16.
  • Doll
  • 17.
  • Bombs and Books
  • 18.
  • The House in the Swamp
  • 19.
  • The Ministry of Fear
  • 20.
  • Canaries and Defectors
  • 21.
  • Mrs Montgomery
  • 22.
  • Hot Irons
  • 23.
  • Mother of Six
  • 24.
  • Banned in the Republic of Ireland
  • 25.
  • Lime
  • 26.
  • A Piece of Grit
  • 27.
  • Points of Departure
  • 28.
  • Malaya
  • 29.
  • Shoulder Flash
  • 30.
  • The Cards in his Wallet
  • 31.
  • ̀C'
  • 32.
  • The Bell Tower
  • 33.
  • Visas
  • 34.
  • The Splinter
  • 35.
  • Mau Mau
  • 36.
  • Dien Bien Phu
  • 37.
  • No One Expects the Inquisition
  • 38.
  • A Reformed Character
  • 39.
  • Accidents Can Always Happen
  • 40.
  • Anita
  • 41.
  • Our Man on the Potomac
  • 42.
  • The Filthiest Book I Have Ever Read
  • 43.
  • 61/2 Raves
  • 44.
  • A Mixture of Petrol and Vodka
  • 45.
  • Handshakes and Contracts
  • 46.
  • Bombs and Daiquiris
  • 47.
  • The Whole Trouble
  • 48.
  • Taxidermy Everywhere
  • 49.
  • The Separating Sickness
  • 50.
  • Alone in a Lift
  • 51.
  • Changes
  • 52.
  • Death and Taxes
  • 53.
  • The End of a Long Rope
  • 54.
  • Plastiques
  • 55.
  • Masks
  • 56.
  • The Real End of the World
  • 57.
  • Statues and Pigeons
  • 58.
  • The New Life
  • 59.
  • Fidel at Night
  • 60.
  • Papa Doc Honoured Me
  • 61.
  • Morse Code on the Water Pipes
  • 62.
  • Behind the Sand Dune
  • 63.
  • A House Surrounded by Orange Trees
  • 64.
  • No One's Poodle
  • 65.
  • Light Bulbs
  • 66.
  • About my Best
  • 67.
  • Long Spoons
  • 68.
  • Effervescence and Vibration
  • 69.
  • The Diplomatic Passport
  • 70.
  • Storming the Palace
  • 71.
  • The Bomb Party
  • 72.
  • Three Hostages
  • 73.
  • J'Accuse
  • 74.
  • I Am the Message
  • 75.
  • Better a Bad Man
  • 76.
  • Two Faces
  • 77.
  • The Late Rounds
  • 78.
  • A Sense of Movement.
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* At 86, Graham Greene anticipated death with fearless curiosity about "what lies on the other side of the fence." Richard Greene's (no relation) insightful new biography shows that until the very end, the great twentieth-century novelist courageously crossed barriers—geographic, political, social, amorous, psychological, religious. And, except in that final instance, Greene's barrier-crossings catalyzed a dazzling literary outpouring, captivating millions of readers. But we will not understand that outpouring, Greene asserts, if we join previous biographers who have fixated on the novelist's transgressive sexual life. That fixation obscures the pilgrimage of the "agnostic Catholic" whose struggle for faith generated his compelling The End of the Affair. Nor does that fixation illuminate Greene's political sojourn through the planet's most impoverished and war-torn regions—Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia—deeply involving him in the travails of oppressed peoples. Though the narrative never loses its focus on Greene as an artist, readers will learn much about the daunting ideological barriers that Greene pushed through to craft his art. Readers will particularly benefit from the illuminating scrutiny of the Cold War orthodoxies Greene violated not only in his iconic The Quiet American, but also in later, often-forgotten works, such as Our Man in Havana and The Honorary Consul. A complete portrait of a many-faceted titan. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Choice Reviews

Richard Greene (no relation to his subject) has written one of the finest literary biographies of the day. Graham Greene (1904–91) was one of the great 20th-century novelists, and this new biography illuminates his career as no other biography has. Richard Greene examines many new sources without getting lost in the details. He is especially useful in providing context for the novelist's involvement with the politics of developing nations in the late work. Graham Greene hated injustice, and this biography shows how his late writing was energized by social concerns. The long involvement of the novelist with the spying community is clarified, revealing just how central espionage was to the fiction. One also learns much about Greene's many love affairs, but not in the sensational manner of biographers like Norman Sherry and Michael Shelden. Greene's complex relationship with Catholicism is explored, and the entanglement of his creativity with bipolar disorder is treated sensitively. This perceptive biography shows that it is possible to be judicious without being dull. It also shows why Graham Greene is still fascinating as a man and an artist 30 years after his death. Summing Up: Essential. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers.--B. Almon, emeritus, University of AlbertaBert Almonemeritus, University of Alberta Bert Almon Choice Reviews 59:02 October 2021 Copyright 2021 American Library Association.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

University of Toronto English professor Greene follows up the Guardian best-booked Graham Greene: The Life in Letters, an edited anthology, with this deeply researched life of the perennial Nobel runner-up. Clearly, he's passionate about his subject, but they are not related. Copyright 2020 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

British author Graham Greene (1904–1991) traveled for much of his life, and his writings often reflected his travels, as biographer Greene (English, Univ. of Toronto; GrahamGreene: A Life in Letters), no relation to his subject, makes clear in this detailed study of the influential and widely read writer. Greene wrote about the places he visited not just in the commissioned magazine articles that paid for his travel but also in novels such as The Power and the Glory, The End of the Affair, The Quiet American, and Our Man in Havana. The biographer draws on information unavailable to previous biographers and, in contrast to Norman Sherry's three-volume study, doesn't preoccupy himself with his subject's repeated infidelities. Instead, he writes of a man steady in his work though unsteady in most else, including his mental health. In his travels, Greene often ended up in unusual or unsafe situations, but he remembered all that he witnessed, repurposing it for characters, settings, and situations in subsequent writings. Above all, there was Greene's strict adherence to Catholicism, and his preoccupation with loss of faith and love. VERDICT Greene's life story is both interesting and fascinating, and this balanced account offers the best reading of how his personal life infused and enriched his work.—David Keymer, Cleveland Copyright 2020 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Greene (Edith Sitwell: Avant Garde Poet, English Genius) presents an exhaustive account of the life of Graham Greene (1904–1991). The writer (no relation to his biographer) grew up in middle-class comfort in idyllic Berkhamsted but struggled with what was eventually diagnosed as bipolar depression starting in his early teens, which worsened as he entered Oxford, where he later claimed to have played Russian roulette six times. The biography creates a vivid impression of how, despite these mental health struggles, Greene kept up an impressive pace as a writer, producing film reviews, screenplays, and such classic novels as The End of the Affair, Brighton Rock, and The Heart of the Matter. His exploits as a world traveler were also prodigious; most fascinating are his experiences in Africa, namely his journey through Liberia on foot in the 1930s to research modern slavery for a humanitarian group, and later, his work as a British intelligence agent in Sierra Leone and South Africa. It's awe-inspiring that Greene fit so much into a single life, and it's no small feat that his latest biographer has so skillfully captured that life in a single work that can sit confidently next to Norman Sherry's three-volume biography of Greene. Agent: Jill Bialosky, Shipman Agency. (Jan.) Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"A vivid, deeply researched account of the tumultuous life of one of the twentieth century's greatest novelists, the author of The End of the Affair. Graham Greene lived a life as strange and compelling as those in his brilliant novels. A journalist and MI6 officer, Greene sought out the inner narratives of war and politics across the world; he witnessed the Second World War, the Vietnam War, the Mau Mau Rebellion, the rise of Fidel Castro, and the guerrilla wars of Central America. His classic novels, including The Heart of the Matter and The Quiet American, are only pieces of a career that reads like a primer on the twentieth century itself. With wit, keen understanding, and compassion informed by recently surfaced letters and new memoirs from Graham Greene's contemporaries, Richard Greene creates a nuanced portrait of a complicated man. An Unquiet Englishman delves into the conflicts that defined Greene-marriage, promiscuity, faith, and mental illness-to bring fresh insights to his work. This sensitive, fascinating biography sheds new light on one of the foremost modern writers"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Washington PostThe End of the Affair

Review by Publisher Summary 3

The Heart of the MatterThe Quiet AmericanThe Unquiet EnglishmanThe Unquiet EnglishmanA work of wit, insight, and compassion, this new biography of Graham Greene, the first undertaken in a generation, responds to the many thousands of pages of letters that have recently come to light and to new memoirs by those who knew him best. It deals sensitively with questions of private life, sex, and mental illness, and sheds new light on one of the foremost modern writers.