Book review: The Honorary Consul by Graham Greene

The Honorary ConsulThe Honorary Consul by Graham Greene
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From BBC radio 4 – Drama :(31/01/2016)
In a conversation with Nicholas Shakespeare, Graham Greene once named ‘The Honorary Consul’ as his favourite among all his novels, “..because the characters change and that is very difficult to do.”

In this superbly tense story of political kidnap and sexual betrayal set at the beginning of Argentina’s Dirty War in early 1970s, Greene’s characters find themselves on a switchback ride of love, sacrifice and violence.

Isolated Dr Eduardo Plarr, son of a missing political prisoner, is lured into collaborating with a defrocked priest in a kidnap plot, only to find the lives of two people he doesn’t care for, suddenly in his hands.

Meanwhile Charles Fortnum, the elderly and drunken Honorary Consul in a one-horse town near the Paraguayan border, faces his own terrors, and the loss of the young prostitute he has fallen in love with.

Greene added: “For me the sinner and the saint can meet; there is no discontinuity, no rupture… The basic element I admire in Christianity is its sense of moral failure. That is its very foundation. For once you’re conscious of personal failure, then perhaps in future you become a little less fallible. In ‘The Honorary Consul’ I did suggest this idea, through the guerrilla priest, that God and the devil were actually one and the same person – God had a day-time and a night-time face, but that He evolved, as Christ tended to prove, towards His day-time face – absolute goodness – thanks to each positive act of men.”

In this concluding episode, Plarr’s attempts to help Charley get him death threats from the police. Not only is the state closing in on Plarr, but his own past too.

Produced and directed by Jonquil Panting.

A movie was made based on this book: Beyond the Limit (1983) with Michael Caine, Richard Gere, Bob Hoskins.

3* The Third Man
4* The End of the Affair
4* Our Man in Havana
3* The Captain and the Enemy
3* The Quiet American
4* The Ministry of Fear
4* The Power and the Glory
4* TR The Honorary Consul
TR Brighton Rock
TR Travels With My Aunt
TR The Tenth Man
TR Monsignor Quixote
TR The Heart of the Matter
TR Orient Express

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