The Heart of the Matter

The Heart of the Matter

Graham Greene JamesWood / Feb 19, 2020

The Heart of the Matter Wilson sat on the balcony of the Bedford Hotel with his bald pink knees thrust against the ironwork Graham Greene s masterpiece The Heart of the Matter tells the story of a good man enmeshed in love

  • Title: The Heart of the Matter
  • Author: Graham Greene JamesWood
  • ISBN: 9780142437995
  • Page: 143
  • Format: Paperback
  • Wilson sat on the balcony of the Bedford Hotel with his bald pink knees thrust against the ironwork Graham Greene s masterpiece, The Heart of the Matter, tells the story of a good man enmeshed in love, intrigue, and evil in a West African coastal town Scobie is bound by strict integrity to his role as assistant police commissioner and by severe responsibility to hi Wilson sat on the balcony of the Bedford Hotel with his bald pink knees thrust against the ironwork Graham Greene s masterpiece, The Heart of the Matter, tells the story of a good man enmeshed in love, intrigue, and evil in a West African coastal town Scobie is bound by strict integrity to his role as assistant police commissioner and by severe responsibility to his wife, Louise, for whom he cares with a fatal pity When Scobie falls in love with the young widow Helen, he finds vital passion again yielding to pity, integrity giving way to deceit and dishonor a vortex leading directly to murder As Scobie s world crumbles, his personal crisis develops the foundation of a story by turns suspenseful, fascinating, and, finally, tragic Originally published in 1948, The Heart of the Matter is the unforgettable portrait of one man flawed yet heroic, destroyed and redeemed by a terrible conflict of passion and faith This Penguin Deluxe Edition features an introduction by James Wood.

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      143 Graham Greene JamesWood
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    About "Graham Greene JamesWood"

      • Graham Greene JamesWood

        Henry Graham Greene, OM, CH was an English novelist, short story writer, playwright, screenplay writer, travel writer and critic whose works explore the ambivalent moral and political issues of the modern world Greene combined serious literary acclaim with wide popularity.Although Greene objected strongly to being described as a Catholic novelist rather than as a novelist who happened to be Catholic, Catholic religious themes are at the root of much of his writing, especially the four major Catholic novels Brighton Rock, The Heart of the Matter, The End of the Affair, and The Power and the Glory Works such as The Quiet American, Our Man in Havana and The Human Factor also show an avid interest in the workings of international politics and espionage Excerpted from


    1. I remember a striking image from a previous novel of Graham Greene, of vultures settling to roost on the iron rooftops of a nowhere town in a third world country (it's the introduction to "The Power and the Glory"). When I came across an identical image in the first pages of the present novel, I knew I was letting myself in for another traumatic ride through the maze of a fallible human mind, I knew I would struggle with depression and moral ambivalence and with a loss of faith, yet I was also a [...]

    2. Book Circle Reads 35Rating: 4* of fiveThe Publisher Says: Graham Greene's masterpiece The Heart of the Matter tells the story of a good man enmeshed in love, intrigue, and evil in a West African coastal town. Scobie is bound by strict integrity to his role as assistant police commissioner and by severe responsibility to his wife, Louise, for whom he cares with a fatal pity.When Scobie falls in love with the young widow Helen, he finds vital passion again yielding to pity, integrity giving way to [...]

    3. I know exactly why I love Graham Greene novels; and this, The Heart of the Matter, is a shining example of Greene at his best. It is vintage Greene, containing all his themes and strengths. No, it's not my favorite from him; but from I've read thus far, it is the best example of all he's capable of -- it is the novel I recommend you try if you want to find out if he's for you. For one, this has the classic Greene love struggles: men and women caught up in that irresistible, uncontrollable force. [...]

    4. Four stars, because of the quality of the writing. But I am going to disagree with the label that goes with it, that of "really liked it." Because I did not. I feel no affection for this book, and I doubt that I will ever re-read it for many reasons that I will state below. But for those just reading this to get a quick glance about whether they should read it or not: you should, in short. It is worth it. I just would not expect to fall in love.The book focuses on Major Scobie, a policeman in a [...]

    5. THE FIRST FACETIOUS REVIEW BASED MAINLY ON FRANKIE VALLI AND SUPREMES SINGLES *** Spoilers ahoy but we're all friends aren't we?**** As our tale opens, Major Henry Scobie is stuck in a you never close your eyes anymore when you kiss my lips type situation with Mrs Major Henry Scobie aka Louise and there’s a big thought bubble coming out of both their heads which says Where did our love go? Well, after 15 years, what do you expect darlin? Then this new character strolls in called Wilson and he [...]

    6. Graham Greene’s powerful story of morality, integrity, love, betrayal, intrigue, corruption, life changing events and Catholic guilt set in war time Sierra Leone.This is a great book and only the second Graham Greene that I have read (Brighton Rock being the other). The Heart of the Matter is a powerful, thought provoking and deeply profound novel that works on many different levels. It has at its centre the story of a Scobie – a man of integrity and honesty, a deeply principled police offic [...]

    7. ALLA FINE IL PRINCIPIOOgni tanto bisogna sgranchirsi, fare due passi, fare un po’ di moto, e respirare una boccata d’aria fresca… Così come ogni tanto bisogna leggere Graham Greene.O, come nel mio caso, rileggere, visto che Greene l’ho sempre frequentato molto. In entrambe le lingue.Nel secolo di Joyce, un grande narratore che mette sempre al centro dei suoi romanzi una storia da raccontare, impannucciata nel genere giallo, thriller, suspense, spy-story, a me fa gola. [Come mi fa gola J [...]

    8. “If one knew, he wondered, the facts, would one have to pity even the planets? If one reached what they called the heart of the matter?” –Graham GreeneI was raised, as they say “in the church,” and even taught English in parochial (religious) schools for several years, as faith drained from me, inch by inch, year by year. I think of myself as an agnostic now, though I sometimes do pray, just in case, I say jokingly. Though I am not and never have been a Roman Catholic, I am quite famil [...]

    9. Every time I read Graham Greene, I vow to read more Graham Greene. He digs so utterly, completely into the souls of his characters--really, you know them better than most of the real people in your life. Major Scobie is no exception. In fact, everything about this man is laid bare. Scobie is a good man. He is upstanding and moral in a place (British colonial West Africa), time (WWII), and profession (the police) that values deception, injustice, and corruption. The petty colonial British society [...]

    10. This is what happens when you live your life trying to get a piece of Sky Cake* in the great hereafter. Not only will you probably make yourself miserable while you’re here on earth and waste time that could be spent eating delicious actual cake, but you’ll most likely fuck up the life of everyone else involved with you.*(For the detailed explanation of the concept of Sky Cake, check out comedian Patton Oswalt’s routine of the same name.)Henry Scobie is a police officer in an unnamed Briti [...]

    11. (view spoiler)[Bettie's BooksThe rating, any status updates, and those bookshelves, indicate my feelings for this book. (hide spoiler)]

    12. One of my groups is about to do a common read of another novel by Greene. That prompted me to finally write a review of this one, the only example of his long fiction that I've read, after a lapse of 18 years. (As a high school student, I also read one of his short stories, but it proved to be largely forgettable.) There are inevitably details about the book that I've forgotten, but I actually remember the bulk of it, and my reactions to it as I read, pretty well (and checked it out from the co [...]

    13. This poor asshole, stuck in Africa with a wife who doesn't love him, a job going nowhere and this pathological religion. He says he wants to be alone but the minute his wife leaves him he starts an affair, and promptly turns it into the same muck his marriage was, and then he throws a total shit fit over going to confession because he has no intention of quitting his affair, and that's definitely not cool with God as he knows Him, and you can see the pickle he's in.The thing with Graham Greene i [...]

    14. I read this- the bulk of this- in one sitting. I don't know what it is, other than remnants of Catholic guilt which moves me still even as I grew up American Protestant rather than Greene's devoutly tormented English Catholicism but this book really caught fire for me about a hundred pages from the end. The bells are ringing, Scobie's freaking out, and I'm losing my shit.I actually read- no joke- about 20 pages of the last act of the thing aloud in a superpompous British accent in order to laugh [...]

    15. I hate my job. I hate my life. I hate my wife. I hate my mistress. I love God but hate him for making me Catholic. I hate my servant. I hate the guy blackmailing me. I hate the guy who's spying on me and is in love with my wife. I hate everyone around me. I hate that I might be going to Hell. Well, I hate this book. I hate the story. I hate the characters. I hate the main characters name. I hate the setting. I hate the Catholic guilt that rears its useless head every third page. I hate the whiny [...]

    16. όλος ο οίκτος σε ένα βιβλίοΗ αλήθεια είναι ότι μου άρεσε αυτη η υγρασία του βιβλιου, το ημιφως μεσα στο σκοτάδι, ο αποικιοκρατικός αέραςΜου άρεσε πολύ και αυτό το νουαρ που απέπνεε και ο Γκρην σε τουτο το βιβλιο είναι "μαστορας". Ωστόσο γρήγορα άρχισα να εκνευρίζομαι με τον ή [...]

    17. This is one of Greene's serious novels. I won't lie, like Monsignor Quixote it has dated more than some of his other works - possibly due to their exploration of internal religious conflict with faith playing a heavy role, rather than just an ethical or spiritual debate without the exploration of Christianity. Nevertheless, The Heart of the Matter a powerful novel. It possesses the love elements along with the spiritual conflict of The End of the Affair, yet it also has the deeper historical lay [...]

    18. Policeman stationed in colonial Africa cheats on his wife, gets involved with shady diamond smugglers, struggles with his Catholic faith, and endures no end of anguished self-analytical rumination. Funsy!Three stars means "liked it." I liked it. But the thing is, I recently read Greene's The Quiet American, and looooved it, and hoped this would be in the same vein and that I would loooove it, but it wasn't and I didn't.The Quiet American is tightly plotted, full of witty irony, sharply drawn cha [...]

    19. At one time in my life I read a lot of Grahame Greene, I don't know precisely when but it must have been in late autumn or winter because my memory of so many is dreary, rain on the window panes, dark, action played out in black and white. An alien mind with a curious if twisted consistency. A feeling of inevitable betrayal and fear of failure in The Confidential Agent. Relationships here or in The Quiet American as promising a particularly dreary doom. A decaying post war feeling that suggests [...]

    20. "The truth, he thought, has never been of any real value to any human being--it is a symbol for mathematicians and philosophers to pursue. In human relations kindness and lies are worth a thousand truths. He involved himself in what he always knew was a vain struggle to retain the lies."There are a lot of quotable lines in Greene.He's very good at mapping the territory of despair. His characters are very real, as is the setting. The novel is both cinematic and introspective. I've read only one o [...]

    21. La legge interioreE' un po' che giro intorno a Graham Greene, scrittore cattolico, di cui ho letto Fine di una storia, Il potere e la gloria e poi questo Il nocciolo della questione.Che ci fa uno scrittore cattolico negli scaffali di un lettore non cattolico? La risposta è semplice: se lo scrittore è bravo: incuriosisce, fa riflettere, costringe a ripensare alle proprie convinzioni.Il nocciolo della questione è un romanzo cupo, angosciante, introspettivo, senza ironia. Ma anche sincero, lucid [...]

    22. Background:This is my 4th novel by Graham Greene I've recently decided to resume reading his works as many as I can. I first knew him from reading an excerpt from his "The Power and the Glory" (typed and roneoed sheets) in one of our English literature course 40+ years ago. I found reading him simply amazing to me then, I couldn't help wondering how he wrote superbly and why, his narrative was so powerful that I had to go out at Asia Bookstore in Bangkok on Sukhumvit Road in search of a Penguin [...]

    23. África, por altura da II G.G. Mundial. Numa colónia inglesa, sem nome atribuído, Henry Scobie , o sub-comissário de Polícia, procura manter a compostura- interior e exterior - não obstante o clima húmido e temperamental, os ratos, baratas e outros bichos, o paludismo e outras febres. Também há contrabando, confrontos entre nativos que Scobie tem que resolver, amizades dissimuladas entre os ingleses e muitas conversas sussurradas entre eles. " Esta terra não é para ti."- diz Henry à s [...]

    24. A nice man who is a people pleaser marries a manipulative, cunning woman. He thinks of others before himself and God AND we ask why? Why do we do this to ourselves? Our conscience sometimes is the biggest con.

    25. Scobie has an extreme case of Messiah Complex, doesn't he? He not only thinks he has to protect his wife and mistress from pain, he also has to protect God. Although I do not agree at all with Scobie's thinking, I do think the author did a great job in portraying him.

    26. Good God, I thought Greene's A Burnt-Out Case and The End of the Affair were the biggest heaps of Catholic guilt until I read this. Because religion is not my bag I tend not to care much for books about people struggling with questions of faith and sin and such, but Greene's books have a more universal appeal, I think, insofar as they point out the hyprocrisies that go along with adhering to inherently impossible strict moral codes. Those things do appeal to me, and, as usual, Greene addresses t [...]

    27. E nella confusione di quella notte dimenticò per un momento quello che l’esperienza gli aveva insegnato: che nessun essere umano può veramente comprendere un altro essere umano, che nessuno può provvedere alla felicità d’un altro Pare sia il capolavoro di Graham Greene, anche se a mio parere di tutta la sua produzione è un titolo meno noto di altri, in inglese recita The heart of the matter, e lì esattamente mi ha portato: nel cuore della questione. Sì, credo che sarà IL romanzo del [...]

    28. This book is a classic "colonial novel." We are immediately immersed in the British colonial tropics - an unnamed British colony in West Africa during World War II. Cockroaches, rats and diseases abound. The British colony shares a border with a Vichy French (German-allied) colonial country so there is much intrigue about industrial diamond smuggling and the sinking of ships off the coast. This capital city is a melting pot with Africans and British of course (and the n-word is frequently tossed [...]

    29. I am a big fan of Graham Greene, who produced a corpus of entertainments and novels that plumb the anguish, scars and comedy so liberally dispensed by morality, guilt, love, bruised intentions and battered idealism in the twentieth century. The Heart of the Matter was my first exposure to Greene, and he really delivered with this melancholy and poignant tale of catholic guilt and non-denominational pride amongst British colonial settlers in West Africa during the Second World War.It's actually W [...]

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