Graham Greene was one of the leading English novelists of the 20th century, hence he crops up in Five Books recommendations frequently. During World War 2 he worked for MI6 and his experiences are reflected in his works. He was twice shortlisted for the Nobel Prize for literature.
Books by Graham Greene
The End of the Affair
by Graham Greene
The audiobook of Graham Greene’s 1951 novel about a doomed adulterous affair is read by British actor Colin Firth. It was published to great critical acclaim, with Firth’s reading of The End of the Affair winning the Audie Awards not only for the best audiobook of the year in 2013 but also best solo narration.
Listening time: 6 hours and 28 minutes
Narrator: Colin Firth
“He gets the slightly desperate seediness of life so well. It’s a fantastically atmospheric and powerful read.” Read more...
William Boyd on Writers Who Inspired Him
William Boyd, Novelist
“This is the book that made me want to be a crime writer. I grew up in Brighton in the 1950s and 60s and it was a thoroughly unpleasant place then — seedy and violent. It has changed dramatically in the last 25 years. The book has two really key things about it that were such a big influence on me. The first is that it has one of the most grabbing opening sentences ever written: “Hale knew, before he had been in Brighton three hours, that they meant to murder him.”” Read more...
Peter James, Thriller and Crime Writer
“What I like about this book is how Greene captures so beautifully the Cold-War contradictions of U.S. policy in the region. Even though the United States plays no role directly, Greene captures the way in which U.S. policy is often so blind to the realities on the ground that it produces disastrous, unintended consequences. The story is, of course, about a British citizen living in Havana during the 1950s, recruited as a spy by the British Secret Service. He has no idea what do to – so he just pretends and makes up information, which he then sends back to London. However, his actions lead others, presumably the Russians, to think he really is a spy. They start killing people with whom he’s been in touch. Only then does he realise the mess he has got himself into.” Read more...
The best books on U.S. relations with Latin America
William LeoGrande, Political Scientist
“The Quiet American is much more about America than it is about Indo-China. The titular character is an idealistic young man in Indo-China, probably working for the CIA, whose well-meaning actions cause havoc. That is a sort of microcosm for what has actually happened in various parts of the world because of American intervention.” Read more...
The best books on East and West
Ian Buruma, Journalist
“I have chosen this book because it is set in what is probably the third most traumatic period of Haiti’s history. This novel is set in the early 1960s in the early days of the reign of Papa Doc. Although I wasn’t a witness to this regime, many consider this book captures extremely well the atmosphere in Haiti in those days when the Tonton Macoutes tightly controlled the country and brutally extinguished any attempt to change the political status quo.” Read more...
Christian Wisskirchen, Nonprofit Leaders & Activist
Interviews where books by Graham Greene were recommended
The best books on Haiti, recommended by Christian Wisskirchen
As a country that was created after the first and only successful slave revolt in history, Haiti looms large in the popular imagination. Here, Christian Wisskirchen, founding member and former chair of The Haiti Support Group, recommends five books that reveal much about Haiti and what makes it special, and its fascinating and often traumatic history since independence in 1804.
The best books on East and West, recommended by Ian Buruma
The writer and historian Ian Buruma selects five Western perspectives of the East, including a novel of colonial India, a travelogue of disappearing Japan, and the collection of essays that lifted the veil on Mao’s China.
The best books on Americans Abroad, recommended by Charles Glass
The much-travelled writer and broadcaster tells us about misunderstandings and misadventures of Americans in foreign lands
The best books on Southeast Asian Travel Literature, recommended by Cat Barton
The Bureau Chief for the Agence France Presse in Dhaka discusses South East Asian travel literature. Particularly interesting on Cambodia. Further recommended reading from Graham Greene and James Fenton
The best books on U.S. relations with Latin America, recommended by William LeoGrande
U.S. government adviser and Dean of the American University School of Public Affairs leads a book-bound tour that takes us from the Bacardi dynasty in Cuba to American military interventions in Central America
The Best Crime Fiction, recommended by Peter James
The best crime novels grip you right from the first sentence and don’t let go, says bestselling crime author, Peter James. He picks his own favourite crime novels.
William Boyd on Writers Who Inspired Him
The novelist William Boyd tells us about the authors, from Chekhov to Heller, who most influenced his own development as a writer – and reveals the secret to a well-crafted sex scene
The best books on Adultery, recommended by Evan Zimroth
The poet, novelist and author of memoirs explores parallels between faith in the divine and commitment to a worldly erotic passion, and books that show you can have purity within licentiousness