- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Classics; New Ed edition (2 Sept. 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099288524
- ISBN-13: 978-0099288527
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 64 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 68,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Human Factor (Vintage Classics) Paperback – 2 Sep 1999
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"Graham Greene's beautiful and disturbing novel is filled with tenderness, humour, excitement and doubt" (The Times)
"As fine a novel as he has ever written - concise, ironic, acutely observant of contemporary life, funny, shocking, above all compassionate" (Anthony Burgess)
"It is beautifully done, a pleasure to read, a succession of deft, unobtrusive, yet masterly touches" (Guardian)
A classic espionage novel.See all Product description
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Never read anything by Greene before, at least not anything that has stuck in my memory. This is a Classic and to be honest, I don’t usually get along with classics that I didn’t read at the time: they date. This is a spy story a bit like Tinker Taylor, which is one of my all-time top ten novels insofar as it is all about the inner malfunction of the cogs of the upper middle-class and in particular the British Secret Service: defections and double agents. And white men. God knows what would happen if you sent the first three chapters of this to a Literary Agent today with its Pall Mall men’s clubs, grouse-shooting weekends, endless lunches and double whiskies. The rejection letters not for me would flow thick and fast.
But it is totally gripping. The scene where he is at home by himself waiting for the doorbell to ring is a masterclass in how to build tension; utterly compelling. Colm Toibin has written a Foreword to this Vintage Classics edition and in it he remarks of Castle, the protagonist:
Castle moves with care; Greene offers him no flourishes or colour. The step he took while posted in South Africa, and deeply in love with a black woman, was his single defining step.
Yes, nailed in a sentence.
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