Title: The Honorary Consul
Author: Graham Greene
Page Count: 272
Graham Greene is one of my all-time favourite authors, and so it was fun to finally get to this one and tick it off. It’s also pretty typical of Greene and his work because of the general plot, which follows a farcical attempt at kidnapping in a politically charged environment, along with the shenanigans and hijinks that accompany that.
Greene is great at capturing the complexities of the human condition, and he does that well here. It’s also a rare example of a novel that goes backwards and forwards in time without it feeling gratuitous, adding to the story rather than taking away from it. And it’s important, because we learn that the kidnapping of the Honorary Consul might actually benefit our main character. He’s in love with the guy’s wife, who used to be a prostitute, and they’ve been having an affair.
And yet despite all of that, I couldn’t help sympathising with him, and I think that’s a testament to Greene’s writing skills. The result is a plot led by human relationships but with a deep sense of time and place thanks to its setting in an unnamed Argentinian village. There’s even a nice little foreword where Greene explains his reasoning for keeping the anonymity and it reminds me of the reason why I have a little disclaimer in my books explaining that Leipfold’s London runs parallel to our own.
So would I recommend this? Yes, whether you’re a Greene fan or not. It’s not his most famous but it’s good.