The Tenth Man

( 3 )

Overview

During World War II a group of men is held prisoner by the Germans, who determine that three of them must die. This is the story of how one of those men trades his wealth for his life—and lives to pay for his act in utterly unexpected ways.

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Overview

During World War II a group of men is held prisoner by the Germans, who determine that three of them must die. This is the story of how one of those men trades his wealth for his life—and lives to pay for his act in utterly unexpected ways.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Christopher Lehmann-Haupt
The surreal atmosphere of the prose, combined with its highly contrived plotting, serves to lend ''The Tenth Man'' a dreamlike quality. It is as if the ending inspired the story rather than the other way around, as if the narrator had fantasized the action just so as to arrive at the self-annihilating conclusion. -- New York Times
From the Publisher
"A masterpiece - tapped out in the lean, sharp-eyed prose that film work taught Greene to perfect." - Sunday Times

"A smoothly plotted psychological thriller."- Time

"All the Greene hallmarks are there: pace, ingenuity--profundities suggested but never insisted upon." - Penelope Lively

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780671019099
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/1998
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 160,289
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Graham Greene (1904-1991) worked as a journalist and critic, and was later employed by the Foreign Office. His many books include The Power and the Glory, The Third Man, Our Man in Havana, The Comedians and Travels with My Aunt. He is the subject of an acclaimed three-volume biography by Norman Sherry.

Biography

Known for his espionage thrillers set in exotic locales, Graham Greene is the writer who launched a thousand travel journalists. But although Greene produced some unabashedly commercial works -- he called them "entertainments," to distinguish them from his novels -- even his escapist fiction is rooted in the gritty realities he encountered around the globe. "Greeneland" is a place of seedy bars and strained loyalties, of moral dissolution and physical decay.

Greene spent his university years at Oxford "drunk and debt-ridden," and claimed to have played Russian roulette as an antidote to boredom. At age 21 he converted to Roman Catholicism, later saying, "I had to find a religion...to measure my evil against." His first published novel, The Man Within, did well enough to earn him an advance from his publishers, but though Greene quit his job as a Times subeditor to write full-time, his next two novels were unsuccessful. Finally, pressed for money, he set out to write a work of popular fiction. Stamboul Train (also published as The Orient Express) was the first of many commercial successes.

Throughout the 1930s, Greene wrote novels, reviewed books and movies for the Spectator, and traveled through eastern Europe, Liberia, and Mexico. One of his best-known works, Brighton Rock, was published during this time; The Power and the Glory, generally considered Greene's masterpiece, appeared in 1940. Along with The Heart of the Matter and The End of the Affair, they cemented Greene's reputation as a serious novelist -- though George Orwell complained about Greene's idea "that there is something rather distingué in being damned; Hell is a sort of high-class nightclub, entry to which is reserved for Catholics only."

During World War II, Greene was stationed in Sierra Leone, where he worked in an intelligence capacity for the British Foreign Office under Kim Philby, who later defected to the Soviet Union. After the war, Greene continued to write stories, plays, and novels, including The Quiet American, Travels with My Aunt, The Honorary Consul, and The Captain and the Enemy. For a time, he worked as a screenwriter for MGM, producing both original screenplays and scripts adapted from his fiction.

He also continued to travel, reporting from Vietnam, Haiti, and Panama, among other places, and he became a vocal critic of U.S. foreign policy in Central America. Some biographers have suggested that his friendships with Communist leaders were a ploy, and that he was secretly gathering intelligence for the British government. The more common view is that Greene's leftist leanings were part of his lifelong sympathy with the world's underdogs -- what John Updike called his "will to compassion, an ideal communism even more Christian than Communist. Its unit is the individual, not any class."

But if Greene's politics were sometimes difficult to decipher, his stature as a novelist has seldom been in doubt, in spite of the light fiction he produced. Kingsley Amis, Evelyn Waugh, and R. K. Narayan paid tribute to his work, and William Golding prophesied: "He will be read and remembered as the ultimate chronicler of twentieth-century man's consciousness and anxiety."

Good To Know

Greene's philandering ways were legendary; he frequently visited prostitutes and had several mistresses, including Catherine Walston, who converted to Catholicism after reading The Power and the Glory and wrote to Greene asking him to be her godfather. After a brief period of correspondence, the two met, and their relationship inspired Greene's novel The End of the Affair.

Greene was a film critic, screenwriter, and avid moviegoer, and critics have sometimes praised the cinematic quality of his style. His most famous screenplay was The Third Man, which he cowrote with director Carol Reed. Recently, new film adaptations have been made of Greene's novels The End of the Affair and The Quiet American. Greene's work has also formed the basis for an opera: Our Man in Havana, composed by Malcolm Williamson.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Henry Graham Greene (birth name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 2, 1904
    2. Place of Birth:
      Berkhamsted, England
    1. Date of Death:
      April 3, 1991
    2. Place of Death:
      Vevey, Switzerland

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 16, 2010

    Thought provoking and full of surprises

    I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. The language in the book is fairly simple and the plot is fairly easy to follow, yet it is a book that makes you think. You think about the value of a person's life. You wonder about how much you can believe what someone says.
    The book is mainly about a lawyer named Chavel who is imprisoned in a German jail. Three men out of the thirty prisoners are to be executed and their fate is decided by their drawing slips of paper. Chavel is one of the three men who draws a marked slip signifying he will be killed. In order to save his life he gives all of his money and possessions to a man named Janvier who agrees to die in Chavel's place so his family can live well after his death. Most of the book revolves around what happens after Chavel is released from prison.
    The book is full of surprises so I won't reveal anymore of the plot. What you think will happen does not always happen.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2003

    Short, but it packs a punch

    This short 'entertainment' lacks the intensity of a major novel, but the tightly constructed plot makes this book worth the read. Graham Greene combines his fantastic prose with a few fantastic twists. What whould happen if you could trade all of your possesions for a second chance at life? Greene takes a stab at this very intiguing question, and throws in enough curveballs to keep you guessing until the end. True, the characters may be flat, but the story is vivid, creative, and well worth a look.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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