Thursday, September 1, 2016
THE COMEDIANS - Graham Greene
Three men meet on a ship bound for Haiti, a world in the grip of the corrupt 'Papa Doc' and the Tontons Macoute, his sinister secret police.
Brown the hotelier, Smith the innocent American and Jones the confidence man - these are the 'comedians' of Graham Greene's title. Hiding behind their actors' masks, they hesitate on the edge of life. And, to begin with, they are men afraid of love, afraid of pain, afraid of fear itself..
I don't know how accurate the last paragraph of the cover blurb above is after finishing the book but it is a very enjoyable read. There is lots of dark humour, similar to 'Travels With My Aunt" which I find rare in Greene's novels. Often,after finishing a Greene novel my initial thought is to indulge in a bit of self harm, he can be very dark.
The novel is set against the Haiti of the 1960's , a horrible, violent regime lead by Duvalier and then continued by his son. Many, many thousands of people were murdered and disappeared. Again,these regimes were tacitly supported by America because they were 'anti-communist'.
The ending is especially uplifting for our three 'comedians', who are not three of life's leading lights but whose characters make for a very good novel.