by Graham Greene, (c) 1949, this Bantam edition published 1960, short story collection
the 44th in my review series of “forgotten” books
You don’t really notice dull colors until you see something especially bright and vibrant. Food is just food until you taste something really delicious. Fiction is just enjoyable writing – not a bad thing – until you read an author who displays mastery on every page, in every paragraph. Graham Greene is a master.
I’ve had this collection a long time, I bought it in the mid-1960s, soon after I first read Greene’s Brighton Rock. I read it then and again sometime in the early 1980s. A third reading for this review finds the stories just as appealing and as memorable. If anything, the intervening years of reading have sharpened my enjoyment. Each of these stories tells a seemingly simple story, yet Greene makes simplicity complex and complexity simple. Not being a writer I can’t guess how he does it, but without a lot of fuss he pulls me into the stories until I’m there, I follow every scene, every conversation to the end of the story, when I close the book, my finger holding my place, blink, and perhaps let a small “oh.” escape my lips.
For me, this was a book to savor, not read straight through. I kept it on the nightstand for a month, enjoying a single story at a time. Some things are best that way: in small, delicious bites.
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