The Honorary Consul Paperback – 7 Oct 2004
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"Perhaps the most enduring novel that even he has give us" (Daily Mail)
"The tension never relaxes and one reads hungrily from page to page, dreading the moment it will end" (Auberon Waugh Evening Standard)
"Greene's work attempts to link the serious moral imagination with the spirit of adventure and romance and to extend the remapping of imaginative geography first undertaken by Conrad" (Times Higher Education Supplement)
"A superb storyteller with a gift for provoking controversy" (New York Times)
"Greene had the sharpest eyes for trouble, the finest nose for human weaknesses, and was pitilessly honest in his observations... For experience of a whole century he was the man within" (Norman Sherry Independent)
A gripping tragicomedy of a bungled kidnapping in a provincial Argentinean town, considered to be one of Greene's finest novels.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This is one of my favourite Greene novels. It is a clever mix of an adventure story about a kidnapping that goes wrong, and a literary novel about love, faith and moral values.Read more ›
It is a novel about love; about the inability to love and the nature of love. It's about the nature of god and how the protagonists have to come to terms with the difficult idea that god is both good and evil. It's about the nature of the catholic church; the complicated nature of human beings. It's about that favourite paradox of Green's that very often those seemingly furthest from redemption, humanity and god are in fact the closest to them.
It's a beautiful book aching with humanity- our foibles, our goodness and our badness. But please don't call it a political book. Greene would have had a fit. It is after all the novel he most preferred of all those he wrote.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A story of love or something like love set In South America at a time of political instability. The empathy is beautifully captured and is well worth five starsPublished 1 month ago by Mr. R. Mortimer
Unsympathetic characters. Well-written and intelligent, but lacking in plot and characterisation.Published 4 months ago by Nathalie Andrews
I'm a Greene fan, but this novel is a stinker. Rather than go through the book in detail, I'd simply suggest you to think to yourself as you read: "If someone was writing a... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Michael Collier
Having read a few espionage/foreign service thrillers, notably John Le Carré and Charles Cumming), it is apparent just how much the genre owes to Graham Greene, and not... Read morePublished 16 months ago by DT
A modern day "I Claudius". I will say no more for fear of giving too much away. I thing GG is a great writer.Published on 3 Jun. 2014 by shaun
I was pleased to be able at last to get back to reading a whole lot of Graham Greene's books, a change from the great tomes coming out today; these are shortish but delightfully... Read morePublished on 6 Mar. 2013 by A. Baillie Rose