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Twenty-One Stories (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics) Paperback – June 1, 1993

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A superb storyteller..he had a talent for depicting local colour, which he gathered at first hand; a keen sense of the dramatic; an eye for dialogue, and skill in pacing his prose - New York Times" "One of the most important British writers of the twentieth century" Daily Telegraph "Greene was a force beyond his books... The outsider, the dissenter, the spoiled priest, the failure, the classic underdog - out of characters such as these Greene made novels and stories which have enriched hundreds of thousands of readers" -- Melvyn Bragg --This text refers to the Digital edition.

From the Inside Flap

The stories in this book, all written between 1929 and 1954, share the themes that feature so strongly in Graham Greene?s novels: humour and violence, pity and hatred, betrayal and pursuit. Comic, sad, shocking and tragic, they recount the tales of Mr. Maling?s loud stomach, destructive gangs of children, indiscretions revealed and secrets uncovered. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics edition (June 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140185348
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140185348
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,260 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Rocco Dormarunno on May 19, 2004
Format: Paperback
Graham Greene just doesn't get the recognition he deserves as a short story writer. As a novelist, his reputation has been well-established, fortunately. This collection, "Twenty-One Stories" is a fine sampler of Greene's abilities in the shorter genre. Many of the elements that feature so prominently in his novels also figure in these stories: the spontaneity of violence; ruthless polictics; looming secrets; greed; and the complex situations that life drops on you.
Here are some brief looks at my favorite stories:
"The Destructors" is Greene's examination of horrific, calculated vandalism in the extreme, made even more horrifying by the coolness with which it is carried out.
An event in a man's past comes back to haunt him in "The Blue Film". Strangely, the haunting specter doesn't frighten him so much as saddens him.
Purely-plot driven, "The Case for the Defence" is still a brilliant tale worthy of an Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
"Brother" explores the nature of political allegiances and the risks of making them known.
Lastly, "The End of the Party" is a harrowing tale of identical twins playing hide and seek at a party. The ending paragraph left goosebumps on my skin for days.
For those who have never read Graham Greene, "Twenty-One Stories" ought to be your starting point.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By An admirer of Saul on March 21, 2011
Format: Paperback
As the title says, 21 short stories from 1929-1954 that showcase what a versatile and accomplished writer Greene is.The human condition is his theme,humour tragedy,violence and hope are his illustrators.
All the stories are so well rounded they read like miniature novels.Hard as it is to single out favourites,I loved the humour behind 'Greek meets Greek'-two old con men unwittingly trying to con each other,the swipe at Laputian bureaucracy in 'Men at Work' and the brilliant 'Basement Room',told from a childs perspective as the narrator tries to comprehend an adult world of infidelity deceptions and death.
Ever since I started reading I've had Graham Greene lauded to me,but-despite enjoying 'Monsignor Quixote' and 'The Lawless Roads'-his novels have always grated with their compulsory Catholic character and illusions that-to me- have absolutely no relevence to the story at all(they might just as well be Pagans or Jedhi Knights)and Greene always struck me as the converted bore(Greene converted to Catholicism aged 22)who goes on and on about their new found faith that you cant possible share or care about.It seemed obsession bordering on fetish to me.
But-at last! With 21 stories I can both see and appreciate the great writer they were on about. Yes,there are Catholic characters and illusions, but here there is a point ('The Hint of an Explanation')and thoughts are provoked.
This is a great introduction to Greene. I wish I'd read it first-it may have stemmed my antagonism to his novels and I might have enjoyed them more (I'll know on re-reading)and is up there with the best of them in the short story genre.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bindy Sue Frønkünschtein TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 2, 2014
Format: Paperback
As many probably have, I hunted down Graham Greene's TWENTY ONE STORIES in order to -finally- read THE DESTRUCTORS. While quite impressed by this metaphorical tale, I was more struck by just how good the rest of the book was. Several stories are classics in themselves, especially, to me at least, Greene's more macabre, eerie, twist-y titles like A LITTLE PLACE OFF THE EDGWARE ROAD, PROOF POSITIVE, and THE END OF THE PARTY. Others, such as A DRIVE IN THE COUNTRY, THE BASEMENT ROOM, and A CHANCE FOR MR. LEVER are grim, human stories of life, death, and the odd, sometimes unexpected misadventures in between. The whole collection is worth reading, and some of the shortest stories fall from memory, but that means they'll be just as enjoyable the second or twelfth time around!...
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Canestrino on December 31, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read Graham Greene's collection of short stories after reading "The Power and the Glory" and "The End of the Affair" and before I read "The Quiet American". I think they were largely quite good with some very solid stories. They range from the appalling in "The Destuctors" to the very amusing such as "The Blue Film". However, I still prefer the author as a novelist; "The Heart of the Matter" and "The Power and the Glory" in particular.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ethem Alpaydin on September 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
These are excellent stories, though not on a par with his best novels. Saying this, "The Destructors" reminded me very much "Brighton Rock."

"When Greek meets Greek" is very funny. "A Drive in the Country" is one of the best stories I've ever read.

"I Spy" and "The End of the Party" demonstrate there can be as much horror in a child's life.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By That one guy on August 31, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was an amazing work of literary art. Normally I am not a huge fan of short stories, but this collection was excellent. Each story is just long enough to get to the point and then haunts you after you read it. There is always that final moment summing up what actually happened to give you the chills.
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