Graham Greene's 'long journey through time' began in 1904, when he was born into a tribe of Greenes based in Berkhamstead at the public school where his father was headmaster. In A Sort of Life Greene recalls schooldays and Oxford, adolescent encounters with psychoanalysis and Russian roulette, his marriage and conversion to Catholicism, and how he rashly resigned from The Times when his first novel, The Man Within was published in 1929. A Sort of Life reveals, brilliantly and compellingly, a life lived and an art obsessed by 'the dangerous edge of things'.
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(198mm x 129mm x 10mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
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US Kirkus Review »
Mr. Greene's fractional biography - his sort of life is only a part of a life up through the publication of his early, forgotten novels - is a reproof of Auden's overreaching contention that "biographies of writers, whether written by others or themselves, are always superfluous and usually in bad taste." It is not superfluous since it prefigures, isolates, and supplements much of the material which will later be part of his works, and he is certainly most discreet in releasing this material from the "mortmain of the past." Greene, one of six children of a larger family divided between the rich Greenes and the intellectual Greenes, was a child of many fears and even stronger terrors. His father was a headmaster and he loathed being a student in that school - "like the son of a quisling in a country under occupation." His marginal stability manifested itself at various intervals throughout the years: he was sent to an analyst at about sixteen; later in Oxford, while hoping to seduce a governess, he also flirted with a revolver over and over again. His first odd jobs led to a more permanent one with The Times but he was steadily writing a string of novels, unpublished, until finally The Man Within was accepted but success was tenuous for the next ten years. From the beginning he has made clear that he was "overshadowed by the knowledge of failure, by awareness of the flawed intention"; indeed hesitation, as well as candor, is implied in the title he has chosen. Perhaps it will not come on strongly enough for those who are not already among Graham Greene's admirers, but most readers will be gratified that he has searched his memory which is "like a long broken night." (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Graham Greene
Graham Greene was born in 1904. He worked as a journalist and critic, and in 1940 became literary editor of the Spectator. He was later employed by the Foreign Office. As well as his many novels, Graham Greene wrote several collections of short stories, four travel books, six plays, three books of autobiography, two of biography and four books for children. He also wrote hundreds of essays, and film and book reviews. Graham Greene was a member of the Order of Merit and a Companion of Honour. He died in April 1991.