Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Aimless Reading: The G's, Part 13.1 (Graham Greene)

Greene, Graham
The Honorary Consul

I think this came from my parents' bookcase. I seem to remember seeing it there as a teenager, maybe even as a child. I suspect I "borrowed" it after having read The Quiet American in college. I neither read it nor returned it.

I once read an article about Graham Greene, a persistent and often prescient critic of American foreign policy throughout his life, that described how, after the Freedom of Information act was passed, he spent years trying to obtain his FBI file, which he often bragged must have been a foot thick. After years of working at it through a U.S. lawyer, he finally got a hold of the file and was disappointed and a little ego-bruised to discover that all it contained were a couple of newspaper clippings about him and a few inconsequential notes.

from The Honorary Consul

Doctor Eduardo Plarr stood in the small port on the Paraná, among the rails and yellow cranes, watching where a horizontal plume of smoke stretched over the Chaco. It lay between the red bars of sunset like a stripe on a national flag. Doctor Plarr found himself alone at that hour except for the one sailor who was on guard outside the maritime building. It was evening which, by some mysterious combination of failing light and the smell of an unrecognized plant, brings back to some men the sense of childhood and of future hope and to others the sense of something which has been lost and nearly forgotten.

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