The Honorary Consul

The Honorary Consul

Book - 1973
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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 Parana 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 Senora 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, abrilliant 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 Copyright © Libri GmbH. All rights reserved.
Publisher: New York, Simon and Schuster [1973]
ISBN: 9780671215699
0671215698
Branch Call Number: GREE
Characteristics: 315 p. 25 cm.

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Chapel_Hill_KenMc Dec 20, 2014

Graham Greene is a master craftsman, and this novel from the early 70s is one of his best. Idealism, cynicism, love and despair figure into an intriguing story of Paraguayan revolutionaries who kidnap the wrong man.

m
mvincelli
Mar 07, 2010

Can't remember this at all!

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