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Posted June 28, 2009
If you're curious about Haiti and how it got this way......
I like Graham Greene, but don't love him. His characters seem more interesting than his plots, and so they don't always develop as fully as I hope. And parts of his books seem slow. But I am always glad I read a book by Greene in the end. I know I learned something and I always feel the stories are so real that he must have witnessed them. I bought "The Comedians" because I am very curious about Haiti and how it went from the country it once was (in my lifetime), to the one it is today. This story revolves around Haiti during the regime of Papa Doc through the experiences of expats in a country they had once enjoyed and now found horribly changed. And the plot takes the main character through a dangerously, yet thrilling, attempt to play a hand in Haiti's future. As usual, none of Greene's characters are pure or fully heroic; they all have their flaws and limitations. But as I came to know them I found I liked them anyway and, though I know how Haiti turned out, rooted for them to do some good. By the last third of the book, I could not put it down, and the last few chapters were far more surprising and exciting, even hopeful, than I could have imagined. But the sheer helplessness I felt at the end of this book, written decades ago, foretold the Haiti we see today.....as if he knew.
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