This is not a review. I finished this book a week ago and have been trying to write a review for it several times but words just fail to describe the detachment I was left with on finishing.
So, instead of a review, here is a rant spurned by having wasted time on this book.
Yes, Greene’s writing is wonderful – the wordsmithing, that is: the descriptions of the West African mid-war setting, the descriptions of pink gins, the descriptions of Scobie’s thoughts. However, none of this helped to warm to any of the characters, all of which seemed more than a little conceited most of all Major Scobie, the central character.
Scobie is described acting as man driven by Catholic morality, until he begins an affair with Helen, supposedly out of pity. Then his wife returns to him, he is torn between making a few decisions, and he returns to his wife – also out of pity.
Take away the element of Catholicism and Scobie is a pathetic character that can’t make a decision and deludes himself into thinking that he does his best not to cause pain.
Leave in the Catholic element and Scobie is still pathetic and deluded.
I don’t get this one. Rant over.
2* (out of 5*)