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Graham Greene (Author) The Life of Graham Greene: Volume I: Such candour - from one of literature's efycymepodor.tk Greene ()calls his autobiography 'A sort of life', because he says such writing is 'selective'.
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His clearest memory seems to be spending one term drunk. It gets more interesting after that. His account of his conversion from no belief in the supernatural t "A Sort of Life" is a partial autobiography. His account of his conversion from no belief in the supernatural to Roman Catholicism interested me. He originally inquires with no intention of becoming a believer; he only wants to know about his future wife's beliefs. He says virtually nothing about her or his marriage; I don't think he even mentions her name.
The little that he does say is positive. He's as surprised as anyone to find himself embracing the faith.
But the most interesting chapters to me were those describing the three years he spent as a sub-editor for The Times of London. This means he had virtually the same job then that I have now, and he worked similar hours -- from 4 p. We get free pizza on election nights; The Times' sub-editors got free beer during the general strike.
Like me, he would bring a book to read in case of slow periods. He spent his time away from work writing novels; I spend my time reading them. He found his newspaper career to be good preparation for his work as an author: He is removing the cliches of reporters; he is compressing the story to the minimum length possible without ruining its effect.
I sat on the edge of the chair ready to leap up. The bearded ghost of Conrad rumbled on the rooftops with the rain. Even an adjective slows the pace or tranquilizes a nerve. Sep 10, John rated it it was ok. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Many years of writing dreadful novels has turned Graham Greene into an excellent writer. That's the message that I got from this autobiography. His career was a triumph of hard work over lack of natural ability. This autobiography confirms my opinion that Graham Greene is a person I dislike. At least, the person in this autobiography is an irritating little squirt, prone to lying, prone to distorted rationalising, prone to manufacturing motives to account for his half-baked actions in a half-reme Many years of writing dreadful novels has turned Graham Greene into an excellent writer.
At least, the person in this autobiography is an irritating little squirt, prone to lying, prone to distorted rationalising, prone to manufacturing motives to account for his half-baked actions in a half-remembered past. He would put his childhood mistakes down to youthful zest and inexperience, but I just don't like the person he portrays. He is so self-obsessed, so superior, and so shallow in his self-awareness. He admits he was a plagiarist - in his early twenties - in order to win a scholarship, but it is all OK because the person giving him the award was an old boy from the school where his father was headmaster.
He scabs for the bosses in the General Strike, and fights against the poor, hungry strikers, but it is all OK, because he is young and it is all a game to him. He converts to Catholicism, but has a hard time of it, because atheism seemed the correct philosophical point of view, but that's irrelevant to him. As a man of sixty-six he no longer cares about the truth. Which is the way I feel about everything that Graham Greene ever wrote. It is all a pack of lies, but I don't really care any more.
So he says he is a manic-depressive, but he denies that his fainting fits were of an epilectic origin. He doesn't want to be thought of as an epileptic, because he doesn't think epileptics have a right to procreate. Somehow manic-depressives are OK. But of course, he wasn't a manic-depressive at all. He is just trying to shock the reader. He says that he can't remember any anecdotes of the rich and famous. Does anyone really believe him, because he does a good line in name-dropping throughout the book - Kenneth Tynan, Robert Louis Stevenson, Swinburne, etc?
His explanations for most things he does - or rather, pretends to do - sound feasible enough, but don't really bare any great scrutiny. Does that mean that the book is bad? Not at all, but it does mean that I have no particular interest in reading it. I am almost the same age as Graham Greene was when he wrote this autobiography. No, I won't call it an autobiography, it is just a story.
A Sort Of Life
It is so unreliable. As I get older I get more and more begrudging with my praise. Maybe, I will read some more Graham Greene - Brighton Rock, perhaps - and try to be a little more appreciative. I'm off on my jolly old motor-bicycle and I will wait for the metaphorical tigers to growl at me. Feb 28, Patrick McCoy rated it liked it Shelves: A Sort Of Life is the first volume of Graham Green's autobiography that takes the readers from his birth to the publication of Stamboul Train aka The Orient Express open of his biggest commercial success. Greene is one of my favorite authors and now that I've read all of his novels I've decided to embark on his autobiographies, so next up is Ways of Escape, and I might give A World of My Own: A Dream Diary a miss.
I think I'll like the next installment more, since he doesn't spend much A Sort Of Life is the first volume of Graham Green's autobiography that takes the readers from his birth to the publication of Stamboul Train aka The Orient Express open of his biggest commercial success. I think I'll like the next installment more, since he doesn't spend much time talking about the inspirations or travels that inspired his greatest novels. The early life didn't much interest me, however, one does get a sense of what was important to the writer and reveals that one of his greatest problems in life was an aversion to boredom, something I can easily relate to.
And this, in a sense was, one of his greatest inspirations since he claims that is what inspired him to create other worlds in his novels and to travel to places like Africa, Southeast Asia, Haiti, Mexico, and other locales often in times of crisis.
Oct 03, Philip Tucker rated it it was amazing. Thoroughly enjoyable and inspirational autobiography.
I felt stupidly pleased with myself when Greene enthused about some of the books that I had also enjoyed: I've since revised my view to coincide with Greene's, naturally! But I enjoyed the final ch Thoroughly enjoyable and inspirational autobiography. But I enjoyed the final chapter most of all. He writes of the difficulties he found in describing action, saying that he eventually learnt from Stevenson that there should be no adjectives, no metaphor, just nouns and rhythm. And his reflections on his failings as a writer and on the challenges of the job are a fine lesson.
I endeavour to re-read that section periodically, as a reminder to myself that even the greats suffer! Apr 06, Lulu rated it liked it Shelves: There were a few good bits in this, but it was generally disappointing. It seemed just a thrown together account of what I'm sure was really a very interesting life. I got the impression that this book was one of those painful pledges made to his publishing company.
As someone else noted, the bit about action writing was interesting: Even an adjective slows the pace or tranquilizes the nerve But There were a few good bits in this, but it was generally disappointing.
But I was too concerned with "the point of view" to be aware of simpler problems, to know that the sort of novel I was trying to write, unlike a poem, was not made with words but with movement, action, character. Discrimination in one's words is certainly required, but not love of one's words - that is a form of self-love, a fatal love I was only saved by failure. Fiction was obviously his thing. Oct 05, Dane Cobain rated it really liked it. Here, Green covers his schooldays and his time at Oxford with surprising candour, even covering the time when he played Russian Roulette against himself to try to inject some excitement in to a life that seems fascinating to us but which seemed humdrum and repetitive to the writer.
Graham Greene is one of my favourite writers ever, and this autobiography reminds me of why I love him — his writing is consistently gripping and the way he portrays himself is more fascinating than most of his fiction.
A Sort of Life - Wikipedia
Jun 10, Pa rated it liked it. You probalby will learn more about Greene as a person by reading his fiction, esp. Sort of Life describes Greene's childhood in Berkhamsted, England, his school, his games, his fear of boredome, and his depression. Here, Greene recalled the first trying part of his writing career --his initial, instant success followed by a series of failures and self-doubts wh You probalby will learn more about Greene as a person by reading his fiction, esp.
Here, Greene recalled the first trying part of his writing career --his initial, instant success followed by a series of failures and self-doubts which almost forced him to give up writing and become a professor of literature or Oriental studies in the Far East. Thank Goodness he didn't. Despite his attempt to reveal more himself to us, he wasn't all that forthcoming. Jul 12, Katja rated it really liked it Shelves: A very incomplete autobiography which is mostly about the childhood and adolescence of Greene. The school and the family are described marvelously, it is a pity that the book finishes rather abruptly around the marriage time.
I don't quite believe the Russian roulette story, given that Greene was afraid of so many things, as he himself admits. It's a pity he had mentioned only very briefly his psychoanalysis sessions -- with his humour, he could have made a very entertaining read out of it. Perh A very incomplete autobiography which is mostly about the childhood and adolescence of Greene.
Perhaps he took it more seriously than his family or religiosity, unless this topic was reserved for his later autobiography which I haven't read. Mar 02, Kieran rated it it was amazing Shelves: Aug 29, David K. Lemons rated it it was amazing. Like many British authors, Graham Greene was as interesting or maybe even more so than his novels and stories. This is apparent in the first volume of his biography "Sort of Life".
Everyone should read this if they want to lead a life in the arts, for Greene was a man of many talents just as Maugham or Golding or Clavell. Greene helped make the world instead of just observing it. Apr 12, TrumanCoyote rated it liked it. A sort of pain might've been more accurate.
Not sure what to say about those who seem to get gloomier the more success they have.
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Indeed, this one reminded me a bit of Eric Clapton's autobiography At any rate, the legendary Russian-roulette section was intriguing. Jul 15, Mary rated it really liked it. Great for aspiring writers, for Graham Greene lovers, for those interested in England during the early part of the 20th century--for anyone, really, who likes clean, uncluttered storytelling evocative of a way of life that has now mostly disappeared. Greene's memoirs made me want to travel and I can only thank him for opening this wonderful world through his books.
His characters are what I can identify with, but the story of the man himself is just as fascinating. I have somehow never read a Graham Greene book. While waiting for my library copy of Brighton Rock, I found this book and decided to read it. I really like the style, the use of literary allusions, the sense of humor. Looking forward to reading more of his books. Jul 23, Russio rated it really liked it. The duller half of Greene's life - from birth to first publication via Berkhamstead.
Gets more interesting as it goes along but the second half is what would be really interesting. Henry Graham Greene, OM, CH was an English novelist, short story writer, playwright, screenplay writer, travel writer and critic whose works explore the ambivalent moral and political issues of the modern world. Greene combined serious literary acclaim with wide popularity.
Books by Graham Greene. No trivia or quizzes yet. But the price was high. A Sort of Life takes him through Oxford, the early years of marriage and his conversion to Catholicism, to the point where he recklessly gives up his first Fleet Street job as a sub-editor on The Times in order to write full-time. But what marked Greene out above all else was his utter determination to pursue his craft. There can be no more fascinating or illuminating account of what it takes to become a writer. Click here to cancel reply. When he sent the booklets to us they made us laugh so much we decided to publish a selection.
I had thought of keeping a commonplace book for many years. By signing up for our free email newsletter or our free printed catalogues, you will not automatically be subscribed to the quarterly magazine. To become a subscriber to Slightly Foxed: Slightly Foxed undertakes to keep your personal information confidential. The free Foxed News newsletter featuring articles from the quarterly, extracts from books, event invitations, latest releases, news from behind the scenes at Foxed HQ, offers from our partners, and other bookish content goes out to readers around the world by email several times each month.