The Captain and the Enemyby Graham Greene
Victor Baxter is a young boy when a secretive stranger known simply as “the Captain” takes him from his boarding school to live in London. Victor becomes the surrogate son and companion of a woman named Liza, who renames him “Jim” and depends on him for any news about the world outside their door. Raised in these odd yet touching… See more details below
Victor Baxter is a young boy when a secretive stranger known simply as “the Captain” takes him from his boarding school to live in London. Victor becomes the surrogate son and companion of a woman named Liza, who renames him “Jim” and depends on him for any news about the world outside their door. Raised in these odd yet touching circumstances, Jim is never quite sure of Liza’s relationship to the Captain, who is often away on mysterious errands. It is not until Jim reaches manhood that he confronts the Captain and learns the shocking truth about the man, his allegiances, and the nature of love. This Penguin Classics edition features an introduction by John Auchard.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
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This is not one of Greene's best books, but it is worth a read if you are a fan of his works. About a third of the way through this book I was ready to chalk it up as a major disappointment. The payoff comes late, and when it does it makes the read well worth the time. The last third of the book is a marvelous sketch of relationships and love. Greene really knows how to put the subtleties of life into words. This isn't a 'buyer beware,' it's just a 'buyer be patient!' The Greene touch is here, you just have to get to it.
This book reads like the work of a man well past his prime. Touching at times and often clever, the story never brings it all home. If you're interested in Graham Greene, give Our Man in Havanna a try instead.