This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loving Graham Greene: A Novel by Gloria…

Loving Graham Greene: A Novel

by Gloria Emerson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
613194,696 (3.93)6



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 6 mentions

Showing 3 of 3
A woman with a strong imaginary but tenuous real-life connection to Graham Greene (he wrote to her because he replied to all correspondence) hopes to do good in his honor by taking her friends on a trip to Algeria and giving money to fight corruption. Luckily, they survive and don't mess things up too much. Knowing Greene's novels makes you appreciate the book more.

Some quotes:
On Hell:
"It's not a place, is it? We carry it with us, a hell that separates us from all that is kind and good and generous." [p. 111]

On God:
"Remember what Pascal said, that a man who starts looking for God has already found him." [p. 117]

On helping others:
"It is to help a family." From the pocket of her skirt she handed him a wad of dinars, held together by a rubber band, which she did not count On one side of the bills was an antelope with mountains in the distance. There was a moral simplicity about this small act that her grander schemes always lost. [p. 125]

... a government communique with recommendations on security issues: "Banalize and minimize the psychological effect of terrorist and subversive actions. Play up atrocities committed by the Islamic regimes of Iran, Sudan and Afganistan." [p. 139]

"Oh yes, but it wasn't she who suffered, was it?" said Toby. "People like her never do. They just take a stand while the bullets hit someone else." [p. 173]

Molly had seen he absurdity of her life before, that was nothing new, but now there was no reason to ever believe in her own usefulness again, and it was this pretense which she so needed. [p. 174] ( )
  raizel | May 26, 2016 |
I must be a sucker for novels with the names of other authors in their titles. Just this week I bought a copy of "Cleaning Nabokov's House" by Leslie Daniels. A few weeks ago I finished "The Last Dickens" by Matthew Pearl. Also on my shelves I have "The Poe Shadow" by the same author and, among other books, "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress" and "The Crimes of Charlotte Bronte." Now I have read Gloria Emerson's 2000 novel "Loving Graham Greene."

Emerson, a New York Times war correspondent, wrote just the one novel before her death in 2004, but it is a small gem. The story tells of Molly Benson, an idealistic American woman with more money than sense. Novelist Graham Greene has recently died as the story opens, and Molly is still in mourning. She loves his books and once met the great writer. She imagines he was a close friend, although she is beginning to realize his letters to her were merely polite responses to her letters to him, nothing more. In any event, she wants to make some grand gesture in Greene's memory, and she decides to use her money to try to free imprisoned writers in Algeria.

Algeria is a dangerous place at this time, especially to foreigners, but Molly decides she must go there herself, as she imagines Graham Greene would have done. With her are her friend Bertie, another middle-aged woman, and Toby, an overweight younger man, who is invited along only because Molly's husband, busy making a film in Japan, thinks two women shouldn't travel alone to a Muslim country.

There is a scene where the group visits an Algerian hospital and Molly learns about their desperate shortage of supplies because of lack of funds. Yet she doesn't even consider donating any of her money to this cause. She prefers schemes more grand and symbolic, however impractical they may be. She believes her plan, which involves carrying a lot of American money in her shoes and handing it out to anyone who might conceivably be of help, is more worthy of Graham Greene.

Emerson's novel is alternately funny and sad. Just about every sentence is a masterpiece. The novel, at any rate, is worthy of Graham Greene. ( )
  hardlyhardy | Nov 30, 2012 |
Showing 3 of 3
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
For Yvonne
First words
The frightening postcard from Antibes, with his message written in that tiny, tight English handwriting, said he would not be at home in France when she was planning to visit, for he was going to Switzerland for treatment of anemia.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385720351, Paperback)

This marvelous debut novel by former New York Times correspondent and National Book Award--winner Gloria Emerson is a witty and deeply affecting portrait of the stubborn hopes and disillusionment of a privileged woman who dreams of making a difference in the world.

The polite correspondence she shares with the novelist Graham Greene inspires Molly Benson to see him as her moral guiding light. After his death in 1991, Molly sets out to honor his memory by going on a mission with two friends to Algeria at the start of that nation's brutal civil war, intending to save intellectuals from Islamic fundamentalist hit squads. But nothing in her genteel existence has prepared her for the perilous journey on which she and her humble delegation are about to embark.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:51 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

After her brother dies, Molly Benson is convinced that her intermittent correspondence with the novelist Graham Greene has created a special bond between them, and, in an effort to be useful, she leads a small delegation to the Algerian Civil War of 1991.… (more)

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.93)
3 3
4 1
4.5 1
5 2

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 127,167,483 books! | Top bar: Always visible