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The Honorary Consul by Graham Greene

The Honorary Consul (1973)

by Graham Greene

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,698206,341 (3.83)81

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English (15)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (20)
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
I've loved many of Graham Greene's books (Our Man in Havana, The Quiet American, and others) but I couldn't quite get into The Honorary Consul. The characters feel familiar, from previous books, but they seem recycled rather than inspired. ( )
  LizoksBooks | Dec 15, 2018 |
Thriller in places and compelling throughout, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. ( )
  brakketh | Nov 21, 2017 |
Greene picks from a menu of stereotypes: hard drinking ex-pat, cynical doctor, whore who marries, son of wealth who becomes a priest who becomes a guerrilla, and the fuddled British and no-nonsense American ambassadors. Greene gives life to the Brit, half-Brit, and the American, of course, but the restless natives are not worth a full backstory. Except for the Jesuit upper-class fighter whom Greene needs to debate religion and death for too many chapters. The whore gets the role of mirror for the expats--she never becomes a character on her own, and she has the best female role in the book (not counting the doctor's mother, I suppose I must add). The Latin American country gets nothing more than a dark Greene shadow—it could have been any place where expats have beached themselves.
A wonderfully-written, old whiteman novel, that died last century for most readers.
( )
  kerns222 | Aug 24, 2016 |
Review first posted on BookLikes:

"The God I believe in must be responsible for all the evil as well as for all the saints. He has to be a God made in our image with a night-side as well as a day-side."

The Honorary Consul is somewhat heavier fare than Graham Greene's "entertainments". The justification of man's actions based on faith or based on the conflict created by the expectations of religious instruction and the reality of life features heavily in this book.

Charlie Fortnum is an elderly, worn out diplomat, a British Honorary Consul based in northern Argentina who has been largely forgotten by the Foreign Office until he becomes inadvertently entangled in a plot to kidnap the American ambassador.
Unfortunately for Charlie, the kidnapping goes horribly wrong. Even more unfortunate, the Foreign Office don't like the idea of being reminded about Charlie.

The only ones who do care about Charlie are his wife and his doctor - two by-standers. Except of course, that this is Greene-land where soon enough things turn out different from what they appear.

‘It’s not how I intended things,’ Doctor Plarr repeated. He had no anger left with which to defend himself. ‘Nothing is ever what we intend. They didn’t mean to kidnap you. I didn’t mean to start the child. You would almost think there was a great joker somewhere who likes to give a twist to things. Perhaps the dark side of God has a sense of humour.’ ‘What dark side?’ ‘Some crazy notion of León’s. You should have heard that – not the things you did hear.’

So, what we get in The Honorary Consul, is a tense thriller capturing the moral dilemma created by kidnapping and the desperate attempts of atonement by everyone involved.

And all of it in Greene's very dark and ironic style:

"Free Will was the excuse for everything. It was God’s alibi." ( )
  BrokenTune | Aug 21, 2016 |
Greene's characters are always so interesting, and here it's the same in this tale of intrigue and kidnapping in South America. ( )
  soylentgreen23 | Jul 3, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Greene, Grahamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fiori, GabriellaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schaap, H.W.J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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'All things merge in one another -
good into evil, generosity into
justice, religion into politics . . . '

~ Thomas Hardy
For Victoria Ocampo with love, and in memory of the many happy weeks I have passed at San Isidro
and Mar del Plata.
First words
Doctor Eduardo Plarr stood in the small port on the Parana, among the rails and yellow cranes, watching where a horizontal plume of smoke stretched over the Chaco.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0671215698, Hardcover)

A morally complex and mature work from a modern master

IN THIS later novel by Graham Greene? featuring a new introduction?the author continues to explore moral and theological dilemmas through psychologically astute character studies and exciting drama on an international stage. In The Honorary Consul, a British consul with a fondness for drink is mistaken for an American ambassador and kidnapped by Paraguayan revolutionaries.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:20 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Relates the story of the politically motivated kidnapping of Charlie Fortnum, a minor British functionary in Argentina.

» see all 7 descriptions

Legacy Library: Graham Greene

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