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The Comedians (Penguin Classics) Paperback – January 25, 2005
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''Graham Greene arouses responses of curiosity and attention comparable to those set up by Malraux. . . Faulkner and Hemingway.'' --New Statesman
''Laughter is possible even in the dark night of Haiti. . . a vision that is at once comic and intensely serious. . . A major novel!'' --Roger Sharrock, author of Saints, Sinners and Comedians --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Graham Greene does something very unusual with his major caucasian characters: he gives them very common, non-descript surnames. The reader never learns their first names. The narrator of the novel, an Englishman, is merely called "Mr. Brown." He runs a financially deteriorating hotel in Haiti that he inherits from his mother. Like the author, Mr. Brown is a fallen-away Catholic. A British soldier of fortune and con artist who comes to Haiti is simply called Major Jones or just "Mr. Jones." His talents consist mainly in charming women and in telling funny jokes. An American couple, named Mr. and Mrs. Smith, come to Haiti hopefully to set up a vegetarian center. Mr. Smith ran in the 1948 U.S. presidential election on the Vegetarian Line. He is derisively referred to as "the Presidential Candidate" throughout the novel and utilizes this sobriquet as a method of influencing the Duvalier government to approve of his scheme.Read more ›
The dreams of each character, flimsy as they are, are doomed to fail in a land where utilities and civil order have broken down, where beggers predominate and order is maintained by the Tontons Macoute, the zombie figures in dark glasses who dispense Papa Doc's brutal 'justice' and leave the evidence of it lying beside the road. Smith, who with his wife, wants to start a vegetarian center in the Haitian capitol, flees the country when he realizes that he must resort to bribes for the simplest permissions and even then the promises are a sham. Jones, who tries to con the Hatian government into buying arms that he doesn't possess, is uncovered as a fraud and flees to a South American embassy for protection (the British don't want him - or want him too much).Read more ›
Brown, the primary character and narrator is returning to Haiti to reclaim a hotel he inherited and through his eyes we see the political changes occurring in the country and are made aware of the ominous threat of the Tonton Macoute secret police that hangs over the entire story adding dramatic tension.
Jones , his fellow passenger is revealed to be a con-man who gets by on his ability to make others laugh (one of the comedians) . Smith a failed presidential candidate from the US is naively seeking to establish a vegetarian center in Haiti seemingly oblivious to the turmoil all around him.
Brown's romance with the wife of a diplomat provides a subplot that mirrors the theme that everyone is deceiving someone. The comedians all prove to be actors playing on a stage filled with political violence and the everpresent threat of more to come.
This was a very engaging novel and if not Greene's most well known book it may be one of his best. I enjoyed it and highly recommend it for it's memorable characters and stunning evocation of a country approaching chaos.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It gave a god picture of conditions in Hati inthe books time frame. If ound the story rambling.Published 1 month ago by nancy a wyman Nancy A Wyman
My second Greene novel and i'm addicted; his style is inimitable; confirmed by the supposed fact he once came second in a national competition to compose a short story in the... Read morePublished 2 months ago by 64Born
Haiti is, by far, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. It is also the first country in the Latin America or the Caribbean to have gained independence, via a successful... Read morePublished 6 months ago by John P. Jones III
His best book. The first time I read it, 30 years ago, I was chilled to the bone. Papa Doc was so incensed that he made the Haitian newspapers run daily headlines like "Graham... Read morePublished 10 months ago by radiator
Narrated in first person by another in Graham Greene’s line of world-weary floaters through life, The Comedians (1966) is set in Haiti during the reign of “Papa Doc” Duvalier, a... Read morePublished 13 months ago by M. Buzalka
I place The Comedians with The Quiet American as a favorite Graham Greene novel. Greene did not shy away from speaking truth to power through his writing, and this book is no... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Ray Schrab