IT'S A BATTLEFIELD by Graham Greene


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This early (1934) Graham Greene novel is being republished here for the first time, along with a new introduction in which Greene states that this fifth book was the least read of any of his novels. It is perhaps easy to explain, in that the decisively dramatic conflicts (whether physical- as in the entertainments, or spiritual- as in some of his stronger works) are subdued. Despair is dulled to a disconsolate awareness of human imperfection; and while dealing with some of the great abstractions (justice, love, courage) they are no larger than the men who entertain them and become the operative realities (injustice, lust, cowardice). Here on the battlefield which is more than political and is part of the general war of life, many are variously involved: Jim Drover, whose Communist affiliations have contributed to the death sentence he now faces; Conrad, his brother, in love with his brother's wife and wishfully attempting to match the condemned man's "stupidity, serenity and strength"; Molly Drover's sister, who finds an easy escape in purely sensuous attachments; Surrogate, an intellectual, who assumes the liberal stance to camouflage his humiliation and emasculation as a man; the Assistant Commissioner, filled with doubt and self-distrust as he sees the end to which his investigations lead; etc., etc. It is a thoughtful, quietly disturbing book which explores some of the grey areas of guilt, regret and confusion, and the misconceptions which pass for beliefs. And while appreciably less popular in character than much that he has written, Greene's more serious readership will welcome its reappearance and find it a subtle, serious commentary.
Pub Date: Sept. 24th, 1962
ISBN: 0140185410
Page count: 201pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1962


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