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The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene

The Heart of the Matter (1948)

by Graham Greene

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,009631,858 (3.92)172
  1. 10
    Morte d'Urban by J. F. Powers (christiguc)
  2. 00
    The Mission Song by John le Carré (John_Vaughan)
    John_Vaughan: The two books reflect the supposedly 'catholic' viewpoint so often attributed to Greene. The Mission Song is from a catholic African's view.
  3. 11
    On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan (akfarrar)
    akfarrar: Another serious book with marriage at the heart of it and the tug of war between being an individual and uniting with an 'other'. Both deal with a generation of people on the edge of change and with matters both earthly and spiritual.

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» See also 172 mentions

English (58)  Dutch (3)  Hebrew (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (63)
Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
Scobie, a police officer serving in a war-time West African state, is distrusted, being scrupulously honest and immune to bribery. But then he falls in love, and in doing so is forced to betray everything he believes in, with tragic consequences. This is a terrifying depiction of a man's inner-struggle and is one of Graham Greene's most tragic novel. It is on the 1001 books list to read before you die. I look forward to reading another of Greene's novels in the near future and recommend this book to those who classics. ( )
  EadieB | Mar 1, 2019 |
A true tragedy filled with honest and meaningful dissection of love, marriage, guilt, God, Catholicism, duty, greed, avarice, manipulation, jealousy, pain, loneliness and more. It is easy to see why this book made several lists of "Best books of the 20th Century". Parts of it are droll but when done I see how it fit the author's clever construction of a true tragedy of the heart. This book was very moving and will have a lasting impact on my psyche. Gender roles play a huge part of the landscape of the story in an honest fashion I have rarely encountered. Perhaps it was the author's diction or style but it was refreshingly painful and full of despair for me. I think Graham Greene was a genius but maybe also a tortured soul. ( )
  DonaldPowell | Feb 5, 2019 |
Wonderfully written! Very sad, very human. I found the religious/Catholic theme annoying, but yet still interesting from an emotional perspective. ( )
  keithostertag | Sep 30, 2018 |
Scobie is a deputy police commissioner in Sierra Leone. His wife, Louise, is unhappy and as per usual the rumor mill is swirling. The new arrival, Wilson, seems to be interested in his wife and when she decides she wants to go to South Africa, Scobie is willing to do anything to make that happen and make her happy. But the decisions he makes to do that send his life into a tailspin.

This is a very introspective story of a man and his choices. It's not a happy story by any means, but manages to investigate difficult subjects of suicide, religion, and happiness. Greene can turn a phrase, describing internal and external action brilliantly at times. The story was easy to read but also demands a lot of its readers. ( )
  bell7 | Jul 7, 2018 |
The slow burn corruption of Major Scobie (both criminal and moral), wonderfully written. ( )
  brakketh | Dec 3, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
A policeman's lot is not a happy one. The white (and dark) man's burden must always be heavy. And man's debt to man will be forever in arrears -- from West Africa to the West End, from Brooklyn to Bucharest. Generations of novelists have wrestled with these melancholy truisms. It is a pleasure to report that Graham Greene, in "The Heart of the Matter," has wrestled brilliantly with all three -- and scored three clean falls. Mr. Greene (as a well-earned public knows) is a profound moralist with a technique to match his purpose. From first page to last, this record of one man's breakdown on a heat-drugged fever-coast makes its point as a crystal-clear allegory -- and as an engrossing novel.
One thing I admire with the Heart of the Matter is the introduction of several other characters that in a way or another adds up to the genuine plot. They all seem to have a story to tell and each story affects and adds up to the conflict that has been surfacing within the inner self of Scobie.


» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Greene, Grahamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wood, JamesIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Le pécheur est au cœur même de chrétienté.
. . .Nul n'est aussi compétent que le pécheur
en matière de chrétienté. Nul, si ce n'est le saint."
-- Péguy
First words
Wilson sat on the balcony of the Bedford Hotel with his bald pink knees thrust against the ironwork.
He Had no sense of responsibility towards the beautiful and the graceful and the intelligent. They could find their own way. It was the face for which nobody would go out of his way, the face that would never catch the covert look, the face which would soon be used to rebuffs and indifference that demanded his allegiance. The word 'pity' is used as loosely as the word 'love' : the terrible promiscuous passion which so few experience.
Outside the rest-house he stopped again. The lights inside would have given an extraordinary impression of peace if one hadn't known, just as the stars on this clear night gave also an impression of remoteness, security, freedom. If one knew, he wondered, the facts, would one have to feel pity even for the planets? if one reached what they called the heart of the matter?
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142437999, Paperback)

Graham Greene's masterpiece The Heart of the Matter tells the story of a good man enmeshed in love, intrigue, and evil in a West African coastal town. Scobie is bound by strict integrity to his role as assistant police commissioner and by severe responsibility to his wife, Louise, for whom he cares with a fatal pity.

When Scobie falls in love with the young widow Helen, he finds vital passion again yielding to pity, integrity giving way to deceit and dishonor—a vortex leading directly to murder. As Scobie's world crumbles, his personal crisis makes for a novel that is suspenseful, fascinating, and, finally, tragic.

Originally published in 1948, The Heart of the Matter is the unforgettable portrait of one man, flawed yet heroic, destroyed and redeemed by a terrible conflict of passion and faith.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:34 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Scobie, a police officer in a West African colony, is a good and honest man. But when he falls in love, he is forced into a betrayal of everything that he has ever believed in, and his struggle to maintain the happiness of two women destroys him.

» see all 9 descriptions

Legacy Library: Graham Greene

Graham Greene has a Legacy Library. Legacy libraries are the personal libraries of famous readers, entered by LibraryThing members from the Legacy Libraries group.

See Graham Greene's legacy profile.

See Graham Greene's author page.

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