Title: Graham Greene: Friend and Brother
Author: Leopoldo Duran
Page Count/Review Word Count: 354
I put off starting this book for a long time, but I’m not sure why. As soon as I started reading it I was hooked, and I read it in the space of three or four days. I guess I should start with the background information.
The book is basically a non-fiction piece about Graham Greene, who just happens to be one of my favourite writers of all time. Duran is a priest who was friends with Greene for many years. The two of them went travelling together many times – always with a “Third Man” – and Duran was present at his deathbed when the author died.
But this isn’t a biography, which is a good thing – Greene wouldn’t have liked that. Instead, it’s a collection of reminiscences interspersed with diary entries from Duran and letters that Greene sent him, as well as quotes from his books that put everything into context. The result is a beautiful tribute to Graham Greene and his body of work, and it’s fascinating to see how different things came about.
I was particularly impressed by how Duran managed to stay somewhat impartial throughout – at least, as much as that is possible in a book like this. But while he does mention his own history as a priest and the books that he’d written himself about Greene and his work, they’re only brought in to back up the point that he’s making or to provide some additional context to the reader.
It might not follow a narrative as such, but that doesn’t matter. If anything, it works best how Duran has laid it out, with different chapters and different sections that are dedicated to different topics, from Greene’s battles with the mafia to his thoughts on his own work and his relationships with friends and family members. It’s not a book that just anyone can enjoy, but if you’re a fan of Graham Greene and his literary work then I’m sure you’ll have some fun.