HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
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.

The Comedians by Graham Greene
Loading...

The Comedians (1966)

by Graham Greene

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,097354,693 (3.92)112
Loading...

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

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 112 mentions

English (33)  Dutch (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (35)
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
Writing is excellent. Story and topic depressing but well done. ( )
  yhgail | Feb 20, 2019 |
Paradoxically unappealing yet sympathetic characters, in other words, real people. Greene's usual fantastic prose. Overall just missing that something to make it a great novel. ( )
  encephalical | Jan 23, 2019 |
A wonderful read - full of wisdom, drama and even some humour. I found the love affair between Brown and the ambassador's wife a bit tedious and not really believable - the supposed passion seemed forced. It served its purpose in the story, however.
The prose is wonderful. Hard to put down.
  rosiezbanks | Jan 14, 2019 |
I WANTED TO ENJOY THIS BOOK.
I FOUND THE ROMANCE SO TIRING. I DON'T KNOW WHY IT WAS THERE.
I ENJOYED THE CHARACTERS EXCEPT THE "hero". It was an extremely sad story of Haiti which has never been given a chance. ( )
  mahallett | Dec 30, 2018 |
Summary: Three men, Brown, Smith, and Jones meet on a ship bound for Haiti during the reign of terror of "Papa Doc" Duvalier. They are the "comedians" who must confront not only the tragedy of Haiti, but themselves.

One of the darkest periods of Haiti's troubled history was the rule of "Papa Doc" Duvalier from 1957 until 1971. It was a reign of terror enforced by a secret police, the Tontons Macoute who killed between 30 and 60,000 while many others fled the country.

This is the Haiti to which the three main characters in the book are traveling aboard the Medea. Brown is a hotelier, who inherited the Hotel Trianon from his mother, and is returning, having been unable to sell the property, and drawn by a love affair with the wife of an ambassador. Smith is a former presidential candidate, of the Vegetarian Party, which got 10,000 votes in its election race. He hopes to establish a center for vegetarianism on the island. Jones is a confidence man, who consistently stays just one step of the law, on his tails even aboard ship. He styles himself a major, boasts of battle experience in Burma, Japan, and the Congo, and hopes to secure the rights to establish a golf club for Duvalier and his cronies.

Each faces the shattering of their "comedic" dreams in the face of the brutal realities of Papa Doc and the sinister Tonton Macoute epitomized by Captain Concasseur. From the moment Smith arrives, he must deal with the fleeing minister, Philipot, who commits suicide by his pool, and the later absurdity of his casket being carted away in the back of one of the Tontons vehicles, half sticking out the trunk. This was the same Philipot that Smith and his wife hoped to meet to pursue their vegetarian dream, only to discover that any dream of this sort must be accompanied by bribes and graft. Subsequently, Smith, in his rectitude stands up to the powers and takes his money across the border to the Dominican Republic, shedding his naive ideas about Haiti, but not his principles.

Jones is perhaps the most interesting, going from being held in prison as the law catches up with him at last, to becoming a crony, only to be found out as even shadier than the crooks in the regime. He hides out in the embassy where Brown's lover, Martha lives and Smith, in his jealousy, traps Jones in his own lies and lures him to lead a band in a quixotic revolt against Duvalier. In doing so, Smith comes face to face with both his longing for and inability to believe in enduring love.

Like other Graham Green works, Brown in particular struggles between faith and doubt, between the Catholicism in which he was raised, and a world seemingly desolate of goodness, of purpose, and of love. It was interesting to me that Dr. Magiot, a Marxist, is the one true believer (other than Smith with his vegetarian-utopian dreams), whose life, and sacrifice is motivated by the long view of the fulfillment of a Communist vision of the future. Greene helps us understand the appeal of Communism for principled people faced with corrupt regimes and a subservient church. More than this, Greene uses the backdrop of the absurd comedic horror of Duvalier's Haiti to strip the central characters of their comedic illusions and face them with who they were and what ultimately mattered to them. ( )
2 vote BobonBooks | Jan 2, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
First published nearly 40 years ago, Greene's novel about a world-weary hotelier in the darkest days of the Duvalier dictatorship was inevitably banned in the country. It would be comforting to read it now as a historical record of a different era but sadly the night in Haiti has deepened further and if Greene were to return he would find no shortage of the corruption and violence that acted as a backdrop to The Comedians.

 
Most of all, God is a failure. God is like the British army: He loses almost every battle, and only at the end, if repentance comes in time, may He win the war. For most of the time, Evil wins, turning good intentions to bad ends and bringing all to ruin. I think we should remember that the God who created Greeneland has been more than seven days in doing it, and has not yet rested. He is Mr. Greene himself. And if the land itself might be a miserable enough place in which to live, the God who creates it does so with so much liveliness and skill, and with such a will and ability to please and carry us along, that for those of us who are merely tourists and not the doomed inhabitants it is an exciting land to visit.
added by John_Vaughan | editNY Times, John Bowden (Jul 12, 1966)
 

» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Graham Greeneprimary authorall editionscalculated
Theroux, PaulIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original title
Information from the Swedish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
"...aspects are within us, and who seems
Most kingly is the King."
--Thomas Hardy
Dedication
First words
When I think of all the grey memorials erected in London to equestrian generals, the heroes of old colonial wars, and to frock-coated politicians who are even more deeply forgotten, I can find no reason to mock the modest stone that commemorates Jones on the far side of the international road which he failed to cross in a country far from home, though I am not to this day absolutely sure of where, geographically speaking, Jones's home lay.
Quotations
'Only the nightmares are real in this place.'
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is the book; do not combine with the movie.
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0143039199, Paperback)

One of Graham Greene's most chilling and prophetic novels, The Comedians is set in a Haiti ruled by Papa Doc and the Tontons Macoute, his sinister secret police. Just as The Quiet American offered a preview of the coming horrors of American involvement in Vietnam, this novel presages the chaos in Haiti. Classic Graham Greene.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:57:46 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"Three men, Brown, Smith, and Jones, meet on a ship bound for Haiti, where "Papa Doc" and the Tontons Macoute rule, with sinister secret police."

» see all 6 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.

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.92)
0.5
1 1
1.5
2 10
2.5 7
3 64
3.5 16
4 151
4.5 17
5 69

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 133,421,259 books! | Top bar: Always visible