The Human Factor

The Human Factor

Paperback

By (author) Graham Greene

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  • Publisher: VINTAGE
  • Format: Paperback | 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 134mm x 192mm x 22mm | 159g
  • Publication date: 13 June 2000
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0099288524
  • ISBN 13: 9780099288527
  • Sales rank: 69,692

Product description

With a new introduction by Colm Toibin. A leak is traced to a small sub-section of SIS, sparking off the inevitable security checks, tensions and suspicions. The sort of atmosphere, perhaps, where mistakes could be made? For Maurice Castle, it is the end of the line anyway, and time for him to retire to live peacefully with his African wife, Sarah. To the lonely, isolated, neurotic world of the Secret Service, Graham Greene brings his brilliance and perception, laying bare a machine that sometimes overlooks the subtle and secret motivations that impel us.

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Author information

Graham Greene was born in 1904. On coming down from Balliol College, Oxford, he worked for four years as sub-editor on The Times. He established his reputation with his fourth novel, Stamboul Train. In 1935 he made a journey across Liberia, described in Journey Without Maps, and on his return was appointed film critic of the Spectator. In 1926 he had been received into the Roman Catholic Church and visited Mexico in 1938 to report on the religious persecution there. As a result he wrote The Lawless Roads and, later, his famous novel The Power and the Glory. Brighton Rock was published in 1938 and in 1940 he became literary editor of the Spectator. The next year he undertook work for the Foreign Office and was stationed in Sierra Leone from 1941 to 1943. This later produced the novel The Heart of the Matter, set in West Africa. As well as his many novels, Graham Greene wrote several collections of short stories, four travel books, six plays, three books of autobiography - A Sort of Life, Ways of Escape and A World of My Own (published posthumously) - two of biography and four books for children. He also contributed hundreds of essays, and film and book reviews, some of which appear in the collections Reflections and Mornings in the Dark. Many of his novels and short stories have been filmed and The Third Man was written as a film treatment. Graham Greene was a member of the Order of Merit and a Companion of Honour. He died in April 1991.

Review quote

"Graham Greene's beautiful and disturbing novel is filled with tenderness, humour, excitement and doubt" The Times "As fine a novel as he has ever written - concise, ironic, acutely observant of contemporary life, funny, shocking, above all compassionate" -- Anthony Burgess "Graham Greene's beautiful and disturbing novel is filled with tenderness, humour, excitement and doubt" The Times "It is beautifully done, a pleasure to read, a succession of deft, unobtrusive, yet masterly touches" Guardian

Editorial reviews

"A man in love walks through the world like an anarchist, carrying a time bomb." "As long as we are alive we'll come together again. Somehow. Somewhere." Only Graham Greene could get. away with lines like that - by creating the gentlest, most civilly persecuted of all his men-on-the-run, a bicycle-riding, dog-walking commuter whose heroics are so understated that images of passion and violence take on fresh, half-ironic validity. This "man in love" is Castle, a veteran agent-turned-deskman (African division) for British Intelligence. A quietly ardent husband to black wife Sarah. A quietly doting father to black son Sam (although, or because, he's not Sam's real father). A kind, aging fellow. And - as we learn only after Greene has made us at home with Castle - a spy. Grateful to the Communist agent who helped Sarah and Sam escape from South Africa and himself a scarred enemy of apartheid, Castle has been leaking information, via coded Tolstoy and Trollope, to Moscow, piddling stuff mostly. But now, just as his superiors start to suspect him (they've "eliminated" Castle's young colleague by mistake), the "Uncle Remus" operation passes across Castle's desk - an Anglo-American-German plan to ensure the stability of South Africa's white regime. Should Castle risk this one last leak even as his former friends at "the firm" obliquely, inevitably close in on him? Greene, of course, builds suspense, cinematically, like nobody else in the business, but that is only a fringe benefit when the world's most gracefully gifted and practiced storyteller is operating at full power. Scene after scene - a stiflingly chic Chelsea wedding party, an attempt at nightlife camaraderie among fellow spies, a priest's refusal to hear non-Catholic Castle's confession - snakes by with acerbic energy; character after character darts up with surprise pockets of vulnerability. But this book is ultimately all Castle's, for Greene has returned, in part, to his earliest style, has pared down his moral patterns to the barest essential, has abandoned his penchants for exotica and skirmishes. What remains is a story as apparently plain as Greene's perfect prose - an open-hearted, tight-lipped pavane of conscience and sentiment that can be watched and enjoyed for all the wrong, and all the right, reasons. (Kirkus Reviews)