A Sort of Life

Author:

Graham Green

Title:

A Sort of Life

Publisher:

Penguin

Nataka Books Reviews: 

A Sort of Life

Most autobiographies meander into the predictable main events that the writer deems to be worth inclusion, with good reason for the reader must surely have been chasing the very same stories. A writer like Graham Greene follows no such pattern through two principal approaches.



The darker side of Graham Greene's character is never far from the scene even in uplitfing moments.  The russian roullete experience which helped to form his world view is now well known by readers of Green. Describing personal events in the past without wallowing in nostalgia is the true achievement of this giften raconteur and extraordinary writer !


-- Review by Nataka Books

Nataka Books Full Review: 

A Sort of Life

Most autobiographies meander into the predictable main events that the writer deems to be worth inclusion, with good reason for the reader must surely have been chasing the very same stories. A writer like Graham Greene follows no such pattern through two principal approaches.


The first is to pick the most ordinary but character forming events and the second is to have the tools  to carry this off. In the case of Green, his writing and language focusing on the most minute observations achieves the effect of painting the panoramic view of his early life. This autobiography was written when he was 66 but he takes you to the childhood home, to the grounds outside, the view of the church, the household smells, watching the nanny, the boredom and many more events through his prose that the reader experiences through the young boy's eyes. All his curiosities, sensibilites and fears are painted through showing not telling. 


We said there we only two approaches, it would be amiss not to include that this volume is so slim and condensed that every word on the page is there for a purpose. This minimalism shows the clarity of thought, command of communication with the spare prose only moving through what is happening as if one event followed the other, and the rest filled in by the reader. We are yet to see the period of boredom described in a more moving way. Green brings the charaters alive all those years back. This is not so much the power of memory but the ability to evoke a day so many years ago !


The darker side of Graham Greene's character is never far from the scene even in uplitfing moments.  The russian roullete experience which helped to form his world view is now well known by readers of Green. Describing personal events in the past without wallowing in nostalgia is the true achievement of this giften raconteur and extraordinary writer ! Above all, one could read this book just for the prose. When telling a story, where should the narrator stand at the scene? Graham Green has a lot to offer on this.


-- Review by Nataka Books