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The Confidential Agent: An Entertainment (Vintage Classics) Paperback – 1 Nov 2001


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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics; New Ed edition (1 Nov 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 009928619X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099286196
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 32,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Graham Greene was born in 1904. He worked as a journalist and critic, and in 1940 became literary editor of the Spectator. He was later employed by the Foreign Office. As well as his many novels, Graham Greene wrote several collections of short stories, four travel books, six plays, three books of autobiography, two of biography and four books for children. He also wrote hundreds of essays, and film and book reviews. Graham Greene was a member of the Order of Merit and a Companion of Honour. He died in April 1991.


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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By HORAK on 13 Jan 2008
Format: Paperback
Here is what the author says about his novel:
"`The Confidential Agent' was written in six weeks in 1938 after my return from Mexico. The Spanish Civil War furnished the background...I was struggling then through `The Power and the Glory', but there was no money in the book as far as I could foresee. Certainly my wife and two children would not be able to live on one unsaleable book...so I determined to write another "entertainment" as quickly as possible in the mornings, while I ground on slowly with `The Power and the Glory' in the afternoons.
The opening scene between two rival agents on the cross-channel steamer--I called them D. and L. because I did not wish to localize their conflict--was all I had in mind, and a certain vague ambition to create something legendary out of a contemporary thriller: the hunted man who becomes in turn the hunter, the peaceful man who turns at bay, the man who has learned to love justice by suffering injustice. But what the legend was to be about in modern terms I had no idea.
I fell back for the first and last time in my life on Benzedrine. For six weeks I started each day with a tablet, and renewed the dose at midday. Each day I sat down to work with no idea of what turn the plot might take and each morning I wrote, with the automatism of a planchette, two thousand words instead of my usual stint of five hundred words. In the afternoons `The Power and the Glory' proceeded towards its end at the same leaden pace, unaffected by the sprightly young thing who was so quickly overtaking it.
`The Confidential Agent' is one of the few books of mine which I have cared to reread--perhaps because it is not really one of mine. It was as though I were ghosting for another man. D.
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Format: Paperback
In the late 1930's Graham Greene wrote a quartet of novels which share a brooding atmosphere and themes of betrayal, love and death. "The Confidential Agent" is probably the least effective of these novels (the others are "Stamboul Train", "A Gun for Sale", and "Brighton Rock"): the characterisation is relatively weak, and the storyline is thin and meandering. The book is still worth reading though to get a feel for the atmosphere of the period and, even on less than sparkling form, Greene still has something to teach us about writing well.
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Somnambulist on 3 July 2006
Format: Paperback
This was my first foray into Grahem Greene's works after reading how his prose provided the backdrop for some of Ian Fleming's embroyinic Bond ideas. At first, the language and style are difficult to adjust to given that it was written in the earlier part of the 20th Century, but once you do, the mood, style and pace bring the whole work alive.

D. the main character, is shot full of melancholy, self-pity and paranoia, skulks round a brooding England, aware that the beauty of his first impressions are not so far away from the menacing subterfuge of his own country enveloped in civil war.

The book is short, and picks up pace towards its very Bond-esque, romatic ending.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie De Pue TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 7 July 2011
Format: Paperback
"The Confidential Agent," (1939) is an early-career British crime drama/thriller by much honored twentieth century English author/screen writer Graham Greene (The Third Man., The End Of The Affair (Vintage Classics) ). The book is set in England, a country then close to the start of World War II, whether it was aware of it or not: the so-called "Phony War" would break out in September, 1939.

Denard, the otherwise unnamed protagonist of CONFIDENTIAL AGENT is a Spanish academic who has done some distinguished work in his field. But he is now acting as the confidential agent of the liberal Spanish government, then embroiled in struggle against right-wing rebels led by the fascist Francisco Franco: a smaller but no less intense war, on the eve of World War II. That war, on the Iberian Peninsula, has come to be known as the Spanish Civil War. It deeply appealed to left-wingers all around the globe, who went there to man whole brigades - the American one was known as the Abraham Lincoln--in the early armed struggle against fascism. However, the confidential agent has been sent to the United Kingdom, then still at peace, to try to buy desperately-needed coal for the citizens of his home country, and its armies. He will bring his war with him, as the fascists send agents to try to prevent his successful purchase. And, probably, needless to say, the fascists will play dirty.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paulie on 24 Mar 2011
Format: Paperback
My first Grahem Greene novel and despite being from a different era of spy novels that i normally read i enjoyed it. Due to my job i tend to get CD novels and play them in the van between jobs. This was being read by Tim Pigott Smith who read it brilliantly. Except Sasha Baron Cohen had based his character "Borat" on Tim's interpretation of D's voice and every time D said Yes....... All i could see was Borat with his Tash and suit! Wished also that D could of lost it and raged through the UK like a madman ;-))
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