- Series: Twentieth Century Classics
- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Classics (November 5, 1991)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140184961
- ISBN-13: 978-0140184969
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 7.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,825,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Heart of the Matter (Twentieth Century Classics)
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
''No serious writer of this century has more thoroughly invaded and shaped the public imagination as did Graham Greene.'' -- Time
''Greene had the sharpest eyes for trouble, the finest nose for human weaknesses, and was pitilessly honest in his observations . . . For experience of a whole century he was the man within.'' --Independent
''Greene had wit and grace and character and story and a transcendent universal compassion that places him for all time in the ranks of world literature.'' -- John le Carre'
''Graham Greene was in a class by himself . . . He will be read and remembered as the ultimate chronicler of twentieth-century man's consciousness and anxiety.'' --William Golding
''A literary 'event' . . . [A] profoundly reverent book.'' -- Evelyn Waugh
''A superb storyteller with a gift for provoking controversy.'' -- New York Times
''Joseph Porter's gritty-voiced narration gives the story the perfect measure of world-weary angst.'' --Library Journal --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Graham Greene (1904-1991), whose long life nearly spanned the length of the twentieth century, was one of its greatest novelists. Educated at Berkhamsted School and Balliol College, Oxford, he started his career as a sub-editor of The Times of London. He began to attract notice as a novelist with his fourth book, Orient Express, in 1932. In 1935, he trekked across northern Liberia, his first experience in Africa, recounted in A Journey Without Maps (1936). He converted to Catholicism in 1926, an edifying decision, and reported on religious persecution in Mexico in 1938 in The Lawless Roads, which served as a background for his famous The Power and the Glory, one of several “Catholic” novels (Brighton Rock, The Heart of the Matter, The End of the Affair). During the war he worked for the British secret service in Sierra Leone; afterward, he began wide-ranging travels as a journalist, which were reflected in novels such as The Quiet American, Our Man in Havana, The Comedians, Travels with My Aunt, The Honorary Consul, The Human Factor, Monsignor Quixote, and The Captain and the Enemy. In addition to his many novels, Graham Greene wrote several collections of short stories, four travel books, six plays, two books of autobiography—A Sort of Life and Ways of Escape—two biographies, and four books for children. He also contributed hundreds of essays and film and book reviews to The Spectator and other journals, many of which appear in the late collection Reflections. Most of his novels have been filmed, including The Third Man, which the author first wrote as a film treatment. Graham Greene was named Companion of Honour and received the Order of Merit among numerous other awards.
James Wood is a staff writer at The New Yorker, a visiting lecturer at Harvard, and the author of the national bestseller How Fiction Works and the novel The Book Against God. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top customer reviews
It has been said that "a fictional marrative should show and not tell," and Greene is brilliant in doing that. This is the first of his books that I've read, and I'm hooked. On the other hand, I found it difficult to believe in Scobie, his protagonist, who allows himself to be tormented by his nagging, neurotic, self-centered wife (as a high-level police officer, one would expect him to be tougher). Also, this is one of Greene's "Catholic" novels, and the last third of the book goes on at great length about Scobie's relationship with the Church and God. As a nonbeliever, I felt that Scobie would have been better served by a good therapist, were one available at his time and place..
I won't bother describing characters/plot - no point; just buy, read and wallow.
"He heard a small scrapping voice repeat, "Father," and looking up he saw the blue and bloodshot eyes watching him... He could see the breast of the child struggling for breath to repeat the heavy word; he came over to the bed and said, "Yes, dear. Don't speak, I'm here." The night-light cast the shadow of his clenched fist on the sheet and it caught the child's eye. An effort to laugh convulsed her, and he moved his hand away. "Sleep, dear," he said, "you are sleepy. Sleep." A memory he had carefully buried returned and taking out his handkerchief he made the shadow of a rabbit's head fall on the pillow beside her. "There's your rabbit," he said, "to go to sleep with. It will stay until you sleep. Sleep."... He moved the rabbit's ears up and down, up and down. Then he heard Mrs. Bowles's voice, speaking low just behind him. "Stop that," she said harshly, "the child's dead."
The flip side of Creation, of course, is Free Will, and Scobie proves that it cannot be exercised with abandon. Eventually, if one Believes, one must make palpable choices rooted in that faith, rather than hide behind a series of self-deceptions, even if pain to self is a consequence. Scobie's endless self-delusion (Helen "needs" me; my wife would be better without me; ad nauseum) only delays the day of reckoning when he must take some sort of principled stand, but the delay raises the stakes as the ever-cautious detective fails to fully commit - to God, to his wife, to his mistress, even to his job.
With his one final act, and one built upon a carefully constructed deception that trumps all prior artifice, Scobie ironically turns his back on a basic tenet of Church teaching in a feeble attempt (he suggests to himself) to do the least damage to others. What he may have seen as the noblest of actions barely causes a ripple with those he leaves behind, except for the one he cared for the most, who is hurt the most.
After a labored opening and some very overt melodrama, but also some finely-turned phrases and well-crafted character development (the oily, sycophantic Yusef and the mouse-like yet truly repugnant Wilson are beautifully drawn), Greene seems to be saying that in an unfair, imperfect world of Original Sin, each of us must make choices - sometimes harrowing choices - if we are to come closer to pursuing a life of integrity. While God may be infinitely patient with us, we cannot refuse to embrace hard decisions, even those that could have life-shattering ramifications. After all, that is why He gave us Free Will in the first place.