Friday, March 28, 2008

Graham Greene, again

I've been thinking a lot about Graham Greene lately, and not just because of my afternoon drinking with priests. I read Monsignor Quixote on this trip, and am currently re-reading The Lawless Roads.

In Roads, Greene describes the Mexican desert and says that he cannot see beauty in landscapes that are "unemployed or unemployable." For Greene, only land that can be used - fertile, verdant land - is truly beautiful. Only "Romantics" see God in deserts and on barren mountain tops.

I know that Greene traveled in Africa, but I don't know if he ever saw the Sahara. I wonder how Greene would describe Algeria's dunes and palmeries - surely better than I do - but most of all I wonder if he would see beauty there.


alexiskienlen said...

Hi Marcello,
I gave my dad P and P for Christmas and he really liked it. He, in turn, passed on "Istanbul" by Orhan Pamuk, which I highly, highly recommend.

I have read a few of Greene's books, but will have to re-visit his extensive catalogue at some point.

Nice to read your thoughts about Algeria. I had a wonderful time in the Philippines.

Take care,

Marcello Di cintio said...

Hi Alexis. It is great to hear from you.

I loved Pamuk's Istanbul. It completely changed the way I look at, and write about, cities. Especially my own. When he talks about Istanbul as a city that doesn't mean anything to the world I cannot help but think of Calgary.

Try Pamuk's "My Name is Red." It is the strangest 'murder mystery' you will ever read.

Thanks for writing.

tamara said...

Marcello- I have been trolling through your blog looking for the section on the walled, European cities in North Africa and came across some Graham Greene references.

I read GG obsessively around about the time you made me polenta the first time. Oh, the depression, the insight, the sweltering heat!

My favourite is "A Burnt Out Case"