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Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Depressing, 17 Nov. 2012
This review is from: The Honorary Consul (Paperback)
Unlike most Greene books, I did not detect a morally-uplifting ending here, although some argue that Dr. Plarr, the central character, died for a purpose.

The book is set in an obscure part of N.Argentina in the 1970's. The honorary British consol, Charlie Fortnum, is kidnapped by a bungling group of Paraguayan guerillas, in mistake for an American diplomat. Plarr knows the leader of the rebels (a former Catholic priest) and has previously agreed to help them. To confuse matters, Fortnum's wife is Plarr's mistress, and she is pregnant with his child. The rebels had intended to use the American hostage as ransom for the release of imprisoned colleagues back home, but, naturally, the British consol has no bargaining weight.

Eventually, the rebels are surrounded and dealt with, Fortnum being freed unharmed. Plarr, having voluntarily left the safety of their hut to try to negotiate, was executed. Was Plarr offering himself to provide Fortnum and his wife with a future?

The ending is unsatisfactory, but it is a good story, marred by over-long religious discussions(and symbolism) on the meaning of love, life etc. between Plarr and the priest. Such discussions are commonplace in Greene books, but, somehow seem unnecessary and incongruous here.
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Location: Ruislip

Top Reviewer Ranking: 17,983