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Bettie's Books

A Stuga On the Cusp of the Orust Riviera, tucked away next to a hobbit hole in the woods.

The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene

The Heart of the Matter - Graham Greene


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?
Description: Scobie is a highly principled officer in a war-torn West African state. When he is passed over for promotion he is forced to borrow money to send his despairing wife away on a holiday.

In her absence he falls hopelessly in love with Helen, a young widow, and his life is transformed by the experience. With a duty to repay his debts and an inability to distinguish between love, pity, and responsibilty to others and to God, Scobie moves inexorably to his final damnation.

The terrifying description of a man's awe of the Church and the ability to portray human motive and to convey such a depth of suffering make The Heart of the Matter one of Graham Greene's most enduring, tragic novels

Narrated by Joseph Porter. 10 hours.

I have purposefully kept this one back to encounter near the end of my Greeneland adventures - it being deemed the best.

At the end of this read I am split about telling you just how fine an author Mr Greene was at describing the feckless twat Scobie, versus the sad, masochistic roman catholic man he must have been to have written this in the first place. Both these sides were on show in spades. Semi-autobiographical in nature, The Heart of the Matter must have caused great distress to his wife but there again, he had seperated from her during the penning of this book. (in 1947, book published 1948). Doesn't that explain a lot!

This was misery on a stick and I'm not sure how I feel about continuing onwards with GG.

Major Henry Scobie – Longtime police deputy commissioner and protagonist of the novel.
Louise Scobie – Henry's devout Catholic wife.
Catherine Scobie – Deceased daughter of Henry and Louise.
Ali – Scobie's long-time African servant.
Edward Wilson – New inspector who secretly spies on the actions of Major Scobie, and is in love with Louise.
Harris – Housemate to Wilson
"Dicky" Pemberton – Inspector who commits suicide due to his large debt to Yusef.
Helen Rolt – Newly arriving widow who becomes Scobie's mistress.
Yusef – Syrian local black marketeer who blackmails Scobie after finding a letter in which he expresses his love for Helen.
Tallit – Catholic Syrian who is the main competitor to Yusef.
Father Rank – Local Catholic priest.
Father Clay – Catholic priest at Bamba who reads about saints.

3* The Quiet American
4* The End of the Affair
3* The Power and the Glory
2* The Heart of the Matter
3* Our Man in Havana
4* Brighton Rock
3* The Third Man
4* Travels With My Aunt
4* The Human Factor
TR The Comedians
4* A Burnt Out Case
TR The Honorary Consul
3* A Gun for Sale
TR Complete Short Stories
3* The Captain and the Enemy
2* The Man Within
4* Monsignor Quixote
TR The Confidential Agent
4* The Ministry of Fear