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A Burnt-Out Case by Graham Greene
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A Burnt-Out Case (1961)

by Graham Greene

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Read during Spring 2004

Life seems rather tough for English Catholics. The main character is actually Belgian, an ecclesiatical architect who has lost his faith and his vocation for creating buildings. He leaves his life in Europe and finally ends in a leper hospital in the Congo. I'm sure there is symbolism everywhere that I didn't get but it was a fascinating read anyway. Querry is a magnet for those in conflict about faith; Ryker, the former seminarian and pretensious pseudo-intellectual, and Father Thomas, a priest at the mission associated with the hospital. He simply wants to live his life quietly but is confronted with his previous fame and what everyone else believes he must want. Are you who you are or merely what others choose to see of you?
  amyem58 | Jul 14, 2014 |
summer-2013, tbr-busting-2013, afr-congo, catholic, plague-disease
Read from August 13 to 16, 2013

a burnt-out case (1960)

gbox> fraudio> rosado> read by richard morant
summer 2013> tbr busting 2013
catholic fiction
Africa> Congo> Disease
shortie at 224 pages> tragedy> gloomy

wiki plot: Querry, a famous architect who is fed up with his celebrity, no longer finds meaning in art or pleasure in life. Arriving anonymously at a Congo leper colony overseen by Catholic missionaries, he is diagnosed - by Dr Colin, the resident doctor - as the mental equivalent of a 'burnt-out case': a leper who has gone through a stage of mutilation. However, as Querry loses himself in working for the lepers, his disease of mind slowly approaches a cure.

Leprophiles.
References to Albert Schweitzer
5 likes ( )
  mimal | Aug 26, 2013 |
The first GG that I ever read, over twenty years ago. Not self indulgent or sentimental like Durrell or Graves, Greene was the best of the authors that I started reading at that time of my life, apart from P.G. Wodehouse, of course. ( )
  Bill_Bibliomane | Aug 1, 2013 |
I am about half way through this book, and am enjoying it without quite knowing where it is going. Deep in the heart of Africa a man is trying to escape from his past, which keeps cropping up. Elements of Catholicism also keep popping into the story, as if the characters are part of this faith and yet not part. It is interesting so far ( )
  MTedesco | Jul 3, 2013 |
Not the best Greene novel. ( )
  Schmerguls | Jun 16, 2013 |
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And yet, though Greene does not seem to be trying very hard so far as the story-telling is concerned, though he is not practicing to the full the arts of the novelist, he does nevertheless out of his own humanity make this a very appealing novel, wise, gentle and sympathetic.

added by InfoQuest | editNY Times, R G Davis (Jul 9, 1961)
 
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Epigraph
'Io non mori', e non rimasi vivo.' (I did not die, yet
nothing of life remained.)

DANTE

'Within limits of normality, every individual loves
himself. In cases where he has a deformity or
abnormality or develops it later, his own aesthetic
sense revolts and he develops a sort of disgust
towards himself. Though with time he becomes
reconciled to his deformities, it is only at the
conscious level. His sub-conscious mind, which
continues to bear the mark of injury, brings about
certain changes in his whole personality, making him
suspicious of society.'
R. V. WARDEKAR in a pamphlet on leprosy
Dedication
To Docteur Michel Lachat
First words
The cabin-passenger wrote in his diary a parody of Descartes: 'I feel discomfort, therefore I am alive,' then sat pen in hand with no more to record.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140185399, Paperback)

Querry, a world-famous architect, is the victim of an attack of indifference, no longer finding meaning in art or pleasure in life. Arriving anonymously at a Congo leper village, he loses himself in work for the lepers. As he helps the lepers, so he approaches a self-cure.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:24:45 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

An architect is the victim of an attack of indifference - he no longer finds meaning in art or pleasure in life. Arriving at a Congo leper village, he is diagnosed as the mental equivalent of a 'burnt-out case'.

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