Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Graham Greene's last book: The Last Word

     Graham Greene. The Last Word and Other Stories (1990) In the title story, an old man with a fractured memory and a broken body lives alone in a one-room flat. We gather that some major social and political change has occurred. Eventually, the old man is summoned to see the General, whose predecessor brought about the revolution. The General is curious to see this relic from the bygone age, the last Pope. He offers the old man food and wine before killing him. The old man thanks him for sending him home, and accepts the wine. His last words as he drinks from it are Corpus domini nostri.... The General does not understand the words, but as he squeezes the trigger, there flashes through his mind the anxious thought that perhaps what the old man believed might be true.
     Typically Greene in its mix of thriller, politics, and religion. The other stories offer much the same mix, demonstrating that Green understood the psychology of power and politics as few other writers have done. Worth reading, if somewhat depressing in its unrelieved pessimism about the secularisation of modern life. Greene died about a year after publication. ** to ****

No comments: