Summary

Scobie, a police officer in a West African colony, is a good and honest man. But when he falls in love, he is forced into a betrayal of everything that he has ever believed in, and his struggle to maintain the happiness of two women destroys him.
©1971 Graham Greene (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By DartmoorDiva on 24-09-15

Just brilliant

A brilliant book brilliantly read. I read all Graham Greene's work 30 years ago and felt it was time to revisit. I wasn't sure if I would like Michael Kitchen's reading as I have got to know him so well through his TV work, but he was absolutely superb. I became completely absorbed and, through his skilful reading, I enjoyed the book even more than I did the first time around.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Anne Bingham on 16-04-11

Hot and Steamy

While the story is a little on the simple side Graham Greene manages to capture the atmosphere of the west African colony during war time. The climate is hot and steamy and the social scene is claustrophobic to say the least. The narrator captures the feel of the book perfectly.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Elanjelian on 20-01-10

A Novel on Sin and Damnation

I listened to 'The Heart of the Matter' because: 1) I wanted to get acquainted with Graham Greene's writing; 2) it had won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for 1948; and 3) it was also included in both Modern Library and TIME lists.

It is a straightforward enough story about the unravelling of an honest and upright colonial police officer, Scobie. It revolves around events taking place in wartime Western Africa; in truth, however, it is more about Scobie's struggles with his own demons, his perceptions and fears, and his, ultimately futile, quest for happiness. Strangely, it seemed to me, Scobie the good hardly ever thinks about his work, except in relation to his own piety and damnation. It was as if the natives didn't have any agency at all, as if they existed merely to serve or to corrupt the White colonists.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed listening to the book for the most part. The narration, by Michael Kitchen, was also good. (It may not, however, be suitable for listening while driving -- Kitchen whispers too often.)

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13 of 14 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Michael on 21-05-17

Starts Very Slowly then Boom!

The writing at the beginning is terse, almost minimalist, and dryly British. Scenes jump from one to another with no unnecessary transitional words. Relationships are dry. Then signs begin to appear pressure, and this pressure very slowly builds. Halfway through I did not think I was going to enjoy this book, but then the sweat appears on the dry Brit. The outside temperature is logged daily while the inner stresses become unbearable.

This book is subtly illustrates pity as the most destructive form of pride, destructive to both the subject and the object.
The novel also examines choice and honor vs faith and obedience.

If you start this book, give it time, the powerful ending requires the dry beginning. This, like all my favorite books, led me to ask questions I had never thought of and left me thinking about the story long after the end.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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