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on 21 June 2015
I’ve never been too taken by this novel, although the story-line is reasonably good and the characterisation is great in some places, as with the character of Minty, a down-trodden journalist who must’ve reminded Greene of some of his contemporaries, if he wasn’t based on a real person to begin with.

I’m not too sure what I can say – it was alright, and that’s all, an uninspiring novel that sticks out like a sore thumb against such books as The Quiet American, The Heart of the Matter and Our Man in Havana. It probably doesn’t help that twin siblings Anthony and Kate are fundamentally unlikeable, as is Kate’s lover, a powerful financier called Krogh.

In fact, that’s probably part of the problem – it’s difficult to get too absorbed in to a novel when the characters just annoy you, and I certainly felt no sympathy for their plight. That said, using such unappealing characters allows Greene to play them off each other in a way that he might not normally be able to do, and that ought to redeem the novel for serious fans of his work.
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on 3 June 2014
I find myself as one part of a group of friends who think that Greene was a genius. The others do not understand our devotion. This book has a magnificent start, I sat down and only left it after a couple of hours, ready for more. I returned as soon as I was able, and finished it.

Could the ending be better, I am not sure that the resolution is satisfying, but it is all there, the story telling, flashes of recognition, the inability of the reader to affect the outcome, condemned to watch the unfolding events.

Best of his, who knows? As good as any, certainly.

Another Graham Greene classic, unless you don't like him.....
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on 21 April 2015
Grahan Greene is one of my favourite authors and this is a good early offering from him. However, he experiments with stream of consciousness writing which doesn't work very well for me and I'm never entirley taken with books in which the point of view jumps from character to character, as it does in this work. I think Greene's later works such as the Quiet American and The Heart of the Matter are much more accomplished, as is to be expected. If you've not read Greene before - start with one of those, not with this one.
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on 6 May 2008
Atmosphere is key: the England left behind, and the watery, autumnal Sweden where twins Tony and Kate find themselves. They are about 33. Kate is the secretary and lover of powerful financier and "match king" Erik Krogh. Tony is a ne'erdowell who's knocked about the Empire and has nothing left but good looks, charm and a fund of unreliable stories. Kate gets Krogh to give Tony a job, and from then on the characters slide inevitably towards the brink of disaster. Tony and Kate corrupt Krogh - they take him out of his stiff routine and into the dubious company of would-be actresses and drunken professors. Krogh wonders if it's too late to get back some of the humanity he shed on the way to the top. But the glimpse of life Tony and Kate give him is a pretty shabby affair, after all. Tony has always gone from girl to girl. Now he picks up an English visitor from the provincial town of Coventry and they have a brief affair. Then they fall unexpectedly in love and Tony promises to leave his job and meet Lucia in a Moroccan cafe in Coventry a week from today. Tony has realised that Krogh is a bigger crook than either Kate or himself: he's fiddling the market and is brutally callous to any of his employees who are likely to cause trouble and dent his company's image. Like Macbeth, he employs a seedy hitman for this purpose. There are other Shakespearean echoes: the drunken professor gets funding from Krogh to put on his own translation of Pericles, and at the tawdry bar (while a Krogh employee is beaten up in the lobby), the professor answers every remark with an iambic pentameter. You expect everyone to start speaking in verse. Welcome to Greeneland!
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on 6 August 2015
The usual fascinating, if somewhat strange, Greene narrative. Emminently readable and full of insight into human nature.
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on 6 January 2016
Storyline difficult to follow. The narrative moves from 1st person to 3rd person and doesn't, for me, seem to move in a coherent direction. Very disapointing for a Graham Greene novel.
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on 29 July 2001
I found this novel both interesting and enjoyable. The relationship between the twin brother and sister is the main focus of this work and as the plot deepens thr reader sees how this relatoinship changes.
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on 9 March 2015
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