On Writing

A Gun for Sale

Brighton Rock

The Confidential Agent

The Power and the Glory

The Heart of the Matter

The Third Man

The End of the Affair

The Quiet American

Our Man in Havana

A Burnt-Out Case

The Comedians

Travels With My Aunt

The Honorary Consul

The Human Factor



Critics on Graham Greene:

Mr. Greene is a story-teller of genius. Born in another age, he would still be spinning yarns...His technical mastery has never been better manifested than in his statement of the scene -- the sweat and infection, the ill-built town which is beautiful for a few minutes at sundown, the brothel where all men are equal, the vultures...the snobbery of the second-class public schools, the law which all can evade, the ever-present haunting underworld of gossip, spying, bribery, violence and betrayal...the affinity to the film is everywhere apparent. It is the camera's eye which moves from the hotel balcony to the street below, picks out the policeman, follows him to his office, moves about the room from the handcuffs on the wall to the broken rosary in the drawer, recording significant detail. It is the modern way of telling a story...
Evelyn Waugh

Graham Greene was in a class by himself...He will be read and remembered as the ultimate twentieth-century chronicler of consciousness and anxiety.
William Golding

[Greene] appears to share the idea, which has been floating around ever since Baudelaire, that there is something rather distingué in being damned; Hell is a sort of high-class nightclub, entry to which is reserved for Catholics only.
George Orwell

...Catholicism as a public system of laws and dogmas is far from being an adequate key to Greene's fiction. There is a good deal of evidence, internal and external, that in Greene's fiction Catholicism is not a body of belief requiring exposition and demanding categorical assent or dissent, but a system of concepts, a source of situations, and a reservoir of symbols with which he can order and dramatize certain intuitions about the nature of human experience — intuitions which were gained prior to and independently of his formal adoption of the Catholic faith. Regarded in this light, Greene's Catholicism may be seen not as a crippling burden on his artistic freedom, but as a positive artistic asset.
David Lodge

It is, in fact, the ultimate strength of Greene's books that he shows us the hazards of compassion. We all know, from works like Hamlet, how analysis is paralysis and the ability to see every side of every issue prevents us from taking any side at all. The tragic import of Greene's work is that understanding can do the same: he could so easily see the pain of the people he was supposed to punish that he could not bear to come down hard on them. He became hostage to his own sympathies and railed at pity with the fury of one who was its captive. The most sobering lesson of Greene's fiction is that sleeping with the enemy is most with us when we're sleeping alone; and that even God, faced with a wounded murderer, might sometimes feel himself agnostic.
Pico Iyer

In one book at least, The Power and the Glory, he transcends his perverse and morbid tendencies and presents a whole and memorable human being; this wholeness is exceptional, for Greene is generally an impressionist, or rather a cutter of mosaics. We expect from incisive talents some kind of diagnosis, some instinctive knowledge of the human situation which we have not attended to; this Greene has had. His subjects are the contemporary loneliness, ugliness, and transience.
V. S. Pritchett

The three novels...Brighton Rock, The Heart of the Matter, and The End of the Affair...all have claims to greatness; they are as intense and penetrating and disturbing as an inquisitor's gaze. After his modest start as a novelist under the influence of Joseph Conrad and John Buchan, Greene's masterly facility at concocting thriller plots and his rather blithely morbid sensibility had come together, at a high level of intelligence and passion, with the strict terms of an inner religious debate that had not yet wearied him.
John Updike

© Melody Yiu
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