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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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The Honorary Consul (Simon & Schuster Classics)

The Honorary Consul (Simon & Schuster Classics) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Set in a provincial Argentinean town, The Honorary Consul takes place in that bleak country of exhausted passion, betrayal, and absurd hope that Graham Greene has explored so precisely in such novels as The Power and the Glory and The Comedians.

On the far side of the great, muddy river that separates the two countries lies Paraguay, a brutal dictatorship shaken by sporadic revolutionary activity; on the near side, a torpid city whose only visible cultural institution is a brothel. The foreigners of the city are refugees, each washed up on the banks of the Paraná by some inner disaster or defeat: Dr. Eduardo Plarr, a physician, whose English father has vanished into a Paraguayan prison, and for whom "caring is the only dangerous thing"; Humphries, a teacher of English, who has touched bottom and accepted it; Charley Fortnum, the Honorary Consul, who at the age of sixty-one, sustained by drink and his disputed status as British Consul, still retains enough hope and illusion to marry a twenty-year-old girl from Señora Sanchez' brothel...

With gathering force, Graham Greene draws his characters into the political chaos that lies beneath the surface of South American life. Fortnum is kidnapped by Paraguayan revolutionaries who have mistaken him for the American Ambassador. Realizing their error, they threaten to execute him anyway if their demands are not met. Plarr, torn between his instinctive feeling for the revolutionaries — one of whom is an old friend — and his ambiguous relationship with Fortnum, whose wife he has taken as a lover, becomes involved in a tragicomedy that leads inexorably to a meaningless death.

At the center of The Honorary Consul is Plarr, a brilliant Graham Greene creation, perhaps the most moving and convincing figure in his fiction. Plarr is a man so cut off from human feeling, so puzzled by the emotional needs of men like Fortnum, that he is paradoxically vulnerable, chillingly exposed, and required in the end to pay with his life for the illusions that other people believe in and that he himself cannot share.

In the men and women who surround Plarr — Clara, who has moved from the brothel to Charley Fortnum's bedroom; Father Rivas, the revolutionary priest who dominates those near him, despite his unsanctified marriage and belief in political terror; Saavedra, the Argentinean novelist, whose work lugubriously mirrors the world around him; Aquino, the poet-turned-revolutionary; Colonel Perez, the cheerfully efficient chief of police — Graham Greene has created a world peculiarly his own. It is a world illuminated by that special passion for the complexities of love, faith, compassion, and betrayal that lies at the very heart of his work.

Synopsis:

A collection of bestselling and award-winning books from our first seventy-five years. These titles are handsomely redesigned to combine original artwork with contemporary packaging. Many editions feature new introductions by the authors.

Synopsis:

Set in a provincial Argentinean town, The Honorary Consul takes place in that bleak country of exhausted passion, betrayal, and absurd hope that Graham Greene has explored so precisely in such novels as The Power and the Glory and The Comedians.

On the far side of the great, muddy river that separates the two countries lies Paraguay, a brutal dictatorship shaken by sporadic revolutionary activity; on the near side, a torpid city whose only visible cultural institution is a brothel. The foreigners of the city are refugees, each washed up on the banks of the Paraná by some inner disaster or defeat: Dr. Eduardo Plarr, a physician, whose English father has vanished into a Paraguayan prison, and for whom "caring is the only dangerous thing"; Humphries, a teacher of English, who has touched bottom and accepted it; Charley Fortnum, the Honorary Consul, who at the age of sixty-one, sustained by drink and his disputed status as British Consul, still retains enough hope and illusion to marry a twenty-year-old girl from Señora Sanchez' brothel...

With gathering force, Graham Greene draws his characters into the political chaos that lies beneath the surface of South American life. Fortnum is kidnapped by Paraguayan revolutionaries who have mistaken him for the American Ambassador. Realizing their error, they threaten to execute him anyway if their demands are not met. Plarr, torn between his instinctive feeling for the revolutionaries — one of whom is an old friend — and his ambiguous relationship with Fortnum, whose wife he has taken as a lover, becomes involved in a tragicomedy that leads inexorably to a meaningless death.

At the center of The Honorary Consul is Plarr, a brilliant Graham Greene creation, perhaps the most moving and convincing figure in his fiction. Plarr is a man so cut off from human feeling, so puzzled by the emotional needs of men like Fortnum, that he is paradoxically vulnerable, chillingly exposed, and required in the end to pay with his life for the illusions that other people believe in and that he himself cannot share.

In the men and women who surround Plarr — Clara, who has moved from the brothel to Charley Fortnum's bedroom; Father Rivas, the revolutionary priest who dominates those near him, despite his unsanctified marriage and belief in political terror; Saavedra, the Argentinean novelist, whose work lugubriously mirrors the world around him; Aquino, the poet-turned-revolutionary; Colonel Perez, the cheerfully efficient chief of police — Graham Greene has created a world peculiarly his own. It is a world illuminated by that special passion for the complexities of love, faith, compassion, and betrayal that lies at the very heart of his work.

About the Author

Graham Greene was born in 1904 in Hertfordshire, England. His writing career took off with Stamboul Train, a political novel, in 1932. He became an international literary success, producing some of the best novels of the era, including The Power and the Glory (1940), The Heart of the Matter (1948), The End of the Affair (1951), and The Quiet American (1956). His work in the British Foreign Office during World War II provided material for his popular spy novels, Our Man in Havana (1958), The Honorary Consul (1973), The Human Factor (1978), and The Tenth Man (1985). Greene received the Order of Merit, one of Britain's highest honors, in 1986. His prolific work, which includes novels, plays, travel books, essays, children's stories, articles, short stories, letters, and autobiographies, has been translated into 27 languages and has sold more than 20 million copies. Greene is often hailed as the father of the modern spy novel. He died in 1991 in Switzerland.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780684871257
Introduction:
Korda, Michael
Author:
Korda, Michael
Author:
Greene, Graham
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Location:
New York :
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Espionage/Intrigue
Subject:
Argentina
Subject:
British
Subject:
Diplomats
Subject:
Kidnapping
Subject:
Political fiction
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Series:
Simon & Schuster Classics
Series Volume:
90-09
Publication Date:
20000931
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Rough Front
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.25 in 19.53 oz

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Technothrillers

The Honorary Consul (Simon & Schuster Classics)
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Product details 288 pages Simon & Schuster - English 9780684871257 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , A collection of bestselling and award-winning books from our first seventy-five years. These titles are handsomely redesigned to combine original artwork with contemporary packaging. Many editions feature new introductions by the authors.
"Synopsis" by ,

Set in a provincial Argentinean town, The Honorary Consul takes place in that bleak country of exhausted passion, betrayal, and absurd hope that Graham Greene has explored so precisely in such novels as The Power and the Glory and The Comedians.

On the far side of the great, muddy river that separates the two countries lies Paraguay, a brutal dictatorship shaken by sporadic revolutionary activity; on the near side, a torpid city whose only visible cultural institution is a brothel. The foreigners of the city are refugees, each washed up on the banks of the Paraná by some inner disaster or defeat: Dr. Eduardo Plarr, a physician, whose English father has vanished into a Paraguayan prison, and for whom "caring is the only dangerous thing"; Humphries, a teacher of English, who has touched bottom and accepted it; Charley Fortnum, the Honorary Consul, who at the age of sixty-one, sustained by drink and his disputed status as British Consul, still retains enough hope and illusion to marry a twenty-year-old girl from Señora Sanchez' brothel...

With gathering force, Graham Greene draws his characters into the political chaos that lies beneath the surface of South American life. Fortnum is kidnapped by Paraguayan revolutionaries who have mistaken him for the American Ambassador. Realizing their error, they threaten to execute him anyway if their demands are not met. Plarr, torn between his instinctive feeling for the revolutionaries — one of whom is an old friend — and his ambiguous relationship with Fortnum, whose wife he has taken as a lover, becomes involved in a tragicomedy that leads inexorably to a meaningless death.

At the center of The Honorary Consul is Plarr, a brilliant Graham Greene creation, perhaps the most moving and convincing figure in his fiction. Plarr is a man so cut off from human feeling, so puzzled by the emotional needs of men like Fortnum, that he is paradoxically vulnerable, chillingly exposed, and required in the end to pay with his life for the illusions that other people believe in and that he himself cannot share.

In the men and women who surround Plarr — Clara, who has moved from the brothel to Charley Fortnum's bedroom; Father Rivas, the revolutionary priest who dominates those near him, despite his unsanctified marriage and belief in political terror; Saavedra, the Argentinean novelist, whose work lugubriously mirrors the world around him; Aquino, the poet-turned-revolutionary; Colonel Perez, the cheerfully efficient chief of police — Graham Greene has created a world peculiarly his own. It is a world illuminated by that special passion for the complexities of love, faith, compassion, and betrayal that lies at the very heart of his work.

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