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Graham Greene æ 4 review

The Captain and the Enemy

Victor Baxter is a young boy when a secretive stranger known simply as “the Captain” takes him from his boarding school to live in London Victor becomes the surrogate son and companion of a woman named Liza who renames h. This is a short novel one of the last written by Greene when he was in his 80 s It has a fairly low rating for Greene although it s a decent if a bit implausible storyDuring WW II a mysterious man the Captain wins a boy in a backgammon game The boy is an orphan sent to boarding school by an aunt The boy hates both the school and his aunt so he s happy to go off with the Captain to be raised by the Captain s woman friend who desperately wants a child lost one and can t have another So the boy of 10 or 12 years old or so adapts to his new lifeThe mysterious Captain come and goes for weeks months and sometimes years at a time Often he has a new name when he returns He s obviously a thief and a con man Fast forward to the 1970 s The boy is a young man with a job as a journalist He hasn t had contact with the Captain for years but his mother gets a letter from the Captain and the young man flies to Panama to join the Captain mainly because he has been hounded all his life by the mystery of this strange man Now we enter into a new level of intrigue The Captain is somehow involved in the rebellion in neighboring Nicaragua between the dictator Somoza and the Sandinista rebels He solves the mystery of what the Captain is up to but let s just say that the young man and the Captain both get much than they bargained forA decent story but not one of Greene s best Photo of Sandinista rebels from wiki commons The author 1904 1991 from theguardiancomuk

Read The Captain and the Enemy

Rands It is not until Jim reaches manhood that he confronts the Captain and learns the shocking truth about the man his allegiances and the nature of love This Penguin Classics edition features an introduction by John Auchar. view spoiler Bettie s Books hide spoiler

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Im “Jim” and depends on him for any news about the world outside their door Raised in these odd yet touching circumstances Jim is never uite sure of Liza’s relationship to the Captain who is often away on mysterious er. Graham Greene as everyone knows is my favourite writer I am yet to find even one book of his own that has let me down or disappointed me in even the slightest way I have revisited them all in turns in between reading books by other writers which have been of the same caliber and skill and also those which have seemed inferior to his novels And so the uestion here that would haunt and even surprise some is why did I choose to revisit this book his last and perhaps one of his least known novels and review it here on Goodreads all over again Why was this book a lean crisply written melancholy almost surreal story about father figures surrogate mothers boyhood and manhood espionage and political intrigue and about love and death and even King Kong lingering in my memory even than his already established masterpieces and his entertainments Why was I haunted the most by this book alone even as there were so many of his other stories that had left their indelible imprints on my soulThe answer to that is perhaps as difficult as finding out what does love or what does King Kong stand for in this book Many noted reviewers readers and even authors inspired by Greene have been puzzled by the strange almost alienating nature of this narrative the slippery grasp of its realism and even the cryptic message of the book running through its lean lithe fiber A certain Mr Theroux wondered what it was all about another Mr Rushdie could not uite fathom the second half of the book And yet as I read it now in a nicely old fashioned Penguin paperback for the second time after having loved it in my first time despite having read it digitally I found myself wondering what was it that missed these people The Captain And The Enemy is not only as lucid and concise as any other Greene novel it is also him at the final and penultimate peak of his storytelling powers a finely woven tale of such exuisite sadness of such mystifying moral dilemma and of such cleanly sculpted suspense and political heft that it will surely haunt every other reader once they have finished it for the first time It begins with a boy being smuggled out of the overbearing atmosphere of his school to an alternate life treated to a lunch of smoked salmon and orangeade by a stranger who claims to have won this boy from his father in a game ofnever mind what it is And that is also all I am going to tell to the uninitiated for this is not merely a thriller to unravel or a portrait to unveil this is an encapsulated slice of life that needs to be experienced in all its ups and downs in its strange rousing sense of adventure and illegitimate parentage and in its inescapable moral conundrums in its strange allegiances and its selfish betrayals It is as unpredictable as life as slippery as joy and love to be found in life and as treacherous and cold blooded as life when it delivers its biggest disappointments and destroys our expectations And like life it is also short always at a danger of coming to a tragic end to which it does It begins with a boy fascinated by the new experience and day dreaming about going to Valparaiso it ends with that same boy now never to make it to Valparaiso Yes it is strange it is sad it is even in a flash of absurd comedy confusing at times and yet that is how life is Critics decried it fans ignored or overlooked it and everybody else did not care for it It is their loss The Captain And The Enemy is the most exuisitely moving book that Greene had ever written a book that in its own lean concise way without ever digressing into schmaltz speaks volumes about the meaninglessness of life and the strange puzzling nature of love And still at the end to uote the climax the vital uestion remains Who or what is King Kong


10 thoughts on “The Captain and the Enemy

  1. says:

    This is a short novel one of the last written by Greene when he was in his 80’s It has a fairly low rating for Greene although it’s a decent if a bit implausible storyDuring WW II a mysterious man the Captai

  2. says:

    I know this book is bad ass because weeks after reading it I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and realized what Greene was doing He does it very effectively too by using the way in which he tells the story to tell a part of the storyMy current theory is that this is book is actually a brilliant exposition on the scaffolding we all create in our attempts to architect meaning Nothing means anything Greene

  3. says:

    The Captain and the Enemy Graham Greene The Captain and the Enemy is the last novel published by the English author Graham Greene The Captain a

  4. says:

    Graham Greene as everyone knows is my favourite writer I am yet to find even one book of his own that has let me down or disappointed me in even the slightest way I have revisited them all in turns in between reading books by other writers which have been of the same caliber and skill and also those which have seemed inf

  5. says:

    An enjoyable and absorbing story of Victor the schoolboy and the mysterious captain told in four partsCircumstances bring them into contact with each other one day when Victor is called to the headmaster's office of his boarding school With Victor's father's permission the Captain has come to take the boy out for the afternoon and so begins the adventureGraham Greene's last novel is one of complexity but also

  6. says:

    ‘I get the impression that neither of you trusts the other Why are you friends?’ ‘I told you – not friends It’s a game A serious game – like chess or backgammon We swap pieces – unimportant pieces – though of course everything in a sense can lead to something important For his friends or mine This is the last novel publishe

  7. says:

    Greeneland encompasses morality Catholicism foreignintrigue an inability to love and the raw nerves ofevil a constant force in the world I get vexed when he seems like a church publicist but his gifted storytelling always amused rueful ironic is beguiling Greeneonce said I wonder how those who do not write composeor paint can escape the madness and panic which is inherentin the human situation Greene reveals a masterly

  8. says:

    Being his last novel first published in 1988 this paperback is about a schoolboy named Victor Baxter whose adventure is interestingly narrated by himself From a brief Wikipedia synopsis the Goodreads one and the book itself his age is still a mystery and it's a bit difficult to tell exactly even from the context so I'd leave it at that till

  9. says:

    view spoiler Bettie's Books hide spoiler

  10. says:

    I hadn't heard of this book until a friend mentioned it recently comparing it with Travels With My Aunt; I'd say it's along the lines of Our Man in Havana myself especially the final part set in Latin AmericaKnowing Greene there was a moral in it but I missed out on that enjoying the story for its uirkiness The series of seemingly senseless random acts in Jim's life since The Captain appears is explained later in stag

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