Synopses & Reviews
Victor Baxter is a young boy when a secretive stranger known simply as "the Captain" brings him from his boarding school to London. Victor becomes the surrogate son and companion of a woman named Liza, who renames him "Jim" and depends on him for any news about the world outside their door. Raised in these odd yet touching circumstances, Jim is never quite sure of Liza's relationship to the Captain, who is often away on mysterious errands. 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 Auchard.
"[E]xquisitely understated, moving and graced by humorous touches." Publishers Weekly
"The master's hand is clearly at work." The New York Times
"[W]astes not a word in distilling the fictional preocupations of a lifetime." Time
In Greene's last novel, a lonely boarding-school student encounters a secretive stranger who introduces himself simply as "the Captain." The boy is taken to London by the stranger and raised in odd and touching circumstances by Liza, a young woman with close but unexplained ties to the Captain. It is only when the boy grows to manhood that he will learn the shocking truth about the Captain's allegiances and activities, and will begin to understand the true nature of love.
About the Author
Graham Greene (1904-1991), whose long life nearly spanned the length of the twentieth century, was one of its greatest novelists. Educated at Berkhamsted School and Balliol College, Oxford, he started his career as a sub-editor of the London Times.
He began to attract notice as a novelist with his fourth book, Orient Express,
in 1932. In 1935, he trekked across northern Liberia, his first experience in Africa, told in A Journey Without Maps
(1936). He converted to Catholicism in 1926, an edifying decision, and reported on religious persecution in Mexico in 1938 in The Lawless Roads,
which served as a background for his famous The Power and the Glory
, one of several Catholic” novels (Brighton Rock, The Heart of the Matter, The End of the Affair).
During the war he worked for the British secret service in Sierra Leone; afterward, he began wide-ranging travels as a journalist, which were reflected in novels such as The Quiet American, Our Man in Havana, The Comedians, Travels with My Aunt, The Honorary Consul, The Human Factor, Monsignor Quixote,
and The Captain and the Enemy.
As well as his many novels, Graham Greene wrote several collections of short stories, four travel books, six plays, two books of autobiography, A Sort of Life
and Ways of Escape
, two biographies, and four books for children. He also contributed hundreds of essays and film and book reviews to The Spectator
and other journals, many of which appear in the late collection Reflections.
Most of his novels have been filmed, including The Third Man
, which the author first wrote as a film treatment. Graham Greene was named Companion of Honour and received the Order of Merit among numerous other awards.
John Auchard is a professor of English at the University of Maryland at College Park, and the editor of The Portable Henry James.