Customer Review

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hanging on the telephone, 4 July 2003
This review is from: The Human Factor (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
This gripping cold-war spy story will keep you reading way past your bedtime - even when I was on the penultimate page, I had not guessed how this brilliantly characterised novel would end. Graham Greene paints a picture of the most confidential 'department of the Foreign Office' (aka 'the firm') as one staffed by emotionally stunted heavy-drinkers who return to their lonely flats with no-one to telephone for a chat. The (anti-)hero of the novel, Maurice Castle, is strikingly contrasted from this grey bureaucratic backdrop from the beginning. The telephone motif weaves its way throughout the novel, becoming an ever-more sinister symbol for deceit, betrayal, and ultimately leading to a chilling denouement.
This novel has more in common with the Melita Norwood school of spying than with James Bond, and is all the more convincing as a result. Just remember to watch for all the clues once you've become engrossed in the plot!
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 2 Dec 2014 22:06:26 GMT
Charlotte says:
Re-reading this after many years I feel that Greene manipulates the reader just too much emotionally. He always knows the buttons to press, the places that will tug at the heart strings. He is a brilliant psychologist but his novels have no real integrity. He is just a very clever fraud who knew the truth of the old adage that " Happy people dont read novels" and like a slick advertiser exploits other people's misery to the hilt.
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