This book is a great example of why I enjoy reading novels. For my money Graham Greene is one of the greatest novelists ever to have walked the Earth and one of only a few who actually matters. If you have never read a Graham Greene novel then you are missing out on something special and this would be a good place to begin - but then all of his novels are very good. It's no simple story - although it can be read as one. Scobie is the Deputy Police Commissioner of a West African state during the second world war. He has just been overlooked for promotion but couldn't really care less. His wife Louise, on the other hand, is shamed and having grown tired of the place, wants to spend some time in South Africa. Unable to afford the cost of the journey, the previously incorruptible Scobie borrows money from a local moneylender and well-known local bad guy. Having made one bad choice, Scobie goes one better by beginning a relationship with a much younger woman. From here Scobie's life spirals out of control and as a devout Catholic he quickly becomes overwhelmed by the sins he has committed and he struggles hugely with his intense guilt. Just under the surface of this fascinating story is commentary on themes such as faith, love, the shallowness of human relationships and deceit. Perhaps at the heart of the matter is the fallibility of humans and their relationships with others. Greene's novels linger with you long after you have put them down. They have substance. They have the power to affect and move you and I find myself pondering them long after I have put them down. Green is simply a brilliant story teller and an outstanding author. And this is a tragic, engrossing and moving novel. Highly, highly recommended.BestGuzz
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