THE OTHER MAN: Conversations with Graham Greene by Marie-Francoise Allain

THE OTHER MAN: Conversations with Graham Greene

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Greene, usually reluctant to give interviews, chatted with literary critic Allain in 1979 because she is the daughter of his friend Yves Allain (a spy killed in 1966 Morocco)--but he told her nothing particularly earth-shattering or eloquent, and this slim, slight volume is the result. Greene repeats material already on better display in A Sort of Life and Ways of Escape--about his psychoanalysis, his perennial need to ""escape,"" his interest in divided loyalties, his experiments with suicide and drugs. (But not homosexuality: ""I fear. . . that in this area I've been abnormally normal!"") He talks about his love of Africa, his far-flung travels, his leper-colony pilgrimage. There is, most substantially, discussion of religion and politics. Greene reaffirms his ""bad""-Catholic status but insists on the superiority of an essential faith, even--somewhat dubiously--in literary terms: ""I think that the flatness of E. M. Forster's characters, and Virginia Woolf's or Sartre's, for example, compared with the astonishing vitality of Bloom in Joyce's Ulysses, or of Balzac's Père Goriot, or of David Copperfield, derives from the absence of the religious dimension in the former."" And he reviews the political elements in his life and fiction, with continuing disappointment in communism--but also with frank announcement of his anti-Americanism: ""The temptation to double allegiance tends to disappear before American capitalism and imperialism. I would go to almost any length to put my feeble twig in the spokes of American foreign policy."" Aside from this cheerfully intemperate outburst, however, there's little of surprise or moment here--making Allain's transcript-book an occasionally intriguing but fundamentally marginal item, even for dedicated Greenelanders.

Pub Date: April 28th, 1983
Publisher: Simon & Schuster