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The Man Within (Penguin Classics) Reprint Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The writing does not show Greene at his peak, but it does demonstrate an early ability to craft brilliantly complicated characters and problems of morality in a manner similar to Dostoevsky..
A young man called Andrews has ratted on his friends, a gang of smugglers. He hides out from them in the first place he can find, an isolated cottage. A beautiful and saintly girl lives there and gives him shelter. He falls in love with her. She urges him to do the right thing, to go to court and testify against the smugglers.
Since this is Greeneland, everything is in shades of gray; the man he has betrayed is actually the only man who has ever been good to him, a kind of father figure. And Andrews is no hero; he didn't rat on his gang because they were criminals, he ratted on them because they treated him like he was a nobody. And nobody wants these men to go to jail; the townspeople, the police, and the courts are rife with corruption.
Throughout the book, Andrews continually steps outside himself to question his motives and to struggle against his baser instincts. As the quote by Sir Thomas Browne says, "There's another man within me that's angry with me."
The Man Within begins as a standard Hollywood gangster movie, and ends as a soul-searing story of redemption. It's not The Heart of the Matter, it's not The End of the Affair, but it is a bit like going back in a time machine and seeing the first glimmerings of what turned out to be a world-straddling, God-given talent.
This book, while not very fast paced, is interesting since it's (to me), an introspective look at a Judas figure. Thematically, the book is mostly about redemption and forgiveness.
There's not much to be said, because each person's reading experience will differ, but I think that if you're looking for a book that you can mull over, this is a good book to read.
A more complete review of the book can be found here: [...] (I'm sorry, but I reviewed it in the context of another book).
As Elizabeth slowly grows to trust Andrews, she learns from him about his past, his violent father, smuggler and owner of the ship "Good Chance" with which he used to transported brandy to England. He also tells her how, after his father's death, he met Carlyon who suggested that he joins the crew. Andrew then tells Elizabeth how deeply he detested these men because he could never ascertain himself in front of them the way his father had. Betraying them was thus a way for him to show his fellow smugglers that he "is of importance now".
It is then that Elizabeth suggests that Andrews go to Lewes the following day where the Assizes are to be held and bear his witness to show his courage. Indeed, a difficult and dangerous decision for Andrews to take...
A powerful novel about courage, cowardice, love and faith. It is commendable that Mr Greene achieved to write such a mature novel at the age of only 23.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Following the protagonist Andrews over the course of a few days, the reader runs back and forth across the countryside. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Claire Bendix
Greene's first novel is an engaging story about a young man who, in wanting to escape from a life of crime, has betrayed his cohort smugglers to the police, only to find himself in... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Josh Goode
Greens's obssesion with betrayal in this book echoes the theme in his personal life. Any book by Graham Greene is intense and brilliantly written. Read morePublished on February 2, 2014 by fragilefinger
This is a book you have to stick with to like. The first 75 pages or so craw along . . . crawl. It is Greene's first published novel, and he doesn't have the same pacing or voice... Read morePublished on July 7, 2013 by Doctor Moss
If you look at the lists of Graham Greene's GG's) publications in the front matter of your books, you'll see "The Man Within" given as GG"s first book. Read morePublished on November 21, 2011 by Dr. Kenyon B. De Greene