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Hjärtpunkten (1948)

av Graham Greene

Andra författare: Se under Andra författare.

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
4,575781,916 (3.91)181
In this widely acclaimed modern classic, Graham Greene delves deep into character to tell the dramatic, suspenseful story of a good man's conflict between passion and faith. A police commissioner in a British-governed, war-torn West African state, Scobie is bound by the strictest integrity and sense of duty both for his Colonial responsibilities and for his wife, whom he deeply pities but no longer loves. Passed over for a promotion, he is forced to borrow money in order to send his despairing wife away on a holiday. When in her absence he develops a passion for a young widow, the scrupulously honest Catholic finds himself giving way to deceit and dishonor. Enmeshed in love and intrigue, he will betray everything he believes in, with tragic consequences. The Heart of the Matter is one of Graham Greene's most enduring and tragic novels.… (mer)
  1. 10
    På Chesil Beach av Ian McEwan (akfarrar)
    akfarrar: Another serious book with marriage at the heart of it and the tug of war between being an individual and uniting with an 'other'. Both deal with a generation of people on the edge of change and with matters both earthly and spiritual.
  2. 10
    Morte d'Urban av J. F. Powers (christiguc)
  3. 00
    Den gode tolken av John Le Carré (John_Vaughan)
    John_Vaughan: The two books reflect the supposedly 'catholic' viewpoint so often attributed to Greene. The Mission Song is from a catholic African's view.
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» Se även 181 omnämnanden

engelska (71)  nederländska (3)  danska (2)  hebreiska (1)  katalanska (1)  Alla språk (78)
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“The Heart of the Matter” drew me in with its depictions of mean gossip at the club and general loneliness of the British inhabitants in a West African colony based on Sierra Leone. The protagonist Scobie is a policeman and the one white character who gets on with the locals, who are not developed beyond a shadowy presence of saying “yes sah” or, in the case of women, stirring forbidden lust as they walk by. The setting is just a background allowing the British characters to be significantly alienated and inward looking, their small closed society becomes very claustrophobic. When the rainy season comes this feeling is further intensified.

Scobie’s wife Louise is a burden on him, she is falling apart in West Africa while he wants to stay. He risks his reputation as a straight-shooting cop and borrows money from a Syrian business man so he can send her to South Africa. While she is away he starts an affair with a younger woman, Helen, who has survived forty days in a lifeboat after her ship sank, presumably because of a German submarine attack. The novel is set during the Second World War, but in general the war feels far away in West Africa. Helen’s husband died, and Scobie’s affection for her seems created by pity.
Wilson, a newcomer to the colony, falls in love with Louise before she leaves and will not let Scobie get away with his behaviour. Never mind Wilson, Scobie’s Catholic faith won’t let him tolerate his own actions. Yusef, the Syrian he has borrowed money off wants part of his soul too – and there is a subplot about the Muslim Yusef and his Christian Syrian rival accusing each other of smuggling diamonds. Yusef is a sleazy character, who claims he wants Scobie friendship but just ends up manipulating him.

Perhaps the most brilliant part of this book is the relationship between two Brits in the colonial service: Scobie's enemy Wilson and the pitiable Harris. The two men bond over a game involving killing cockroaches Harris has developed. They end up as flatmates in a nipper hut and find out they went to the same public school back in England; although they won’t admit it their alienation began there. Both, however, still wish for belonging – Wilson publishes a poem in the school magazine, and Harris wants to send a letter to tell the old boys of his whereabouts, which they have requested – although in his heart he knows they just want to hit him up for a donation.

Ali, Scobie’s boy (servant) plays an important part in the book but he is hardly sketched out. Such a character would be better handled by Anthony Burgess, who would give Ali a lot of comic idiosyncrasies and include scenes of him talking to other Africans about the Europeans. Burgess’s characterisations of locals would be far from politically correct by today’s standards, but through comic portrayals he would show at least some interest in them. Burgess’s Yusef would be better too: although Greene has it that Yusef can’t read or write, the Syrian speaks perfect English; Burgess would have attempted a more realistic speech pattern and thrown in the odd word of Arabic. “The Heart of the Matter” is interesting to compare with Burgess’s “Devil of the State”, which is influenced by Greene and dedicated to him. Greene didn’t rate it though. Burgess’s fictional Dunia in East Africa (based on Brunei, see my review [b:Devil of a State: A Novel|230115|Devil of a State A Novel (The Norton Library)|Anthony Burgess|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1491221594l/230115._SX50_.jpg|1596134]) is more alive than Greene’s West Africa. But Burgess doesn’t have much of a plot in his vivid portrayal of a colony on the verge of independence. Local politics don’t interest Greene, but his book is tightly written and gripping for the first 150 pages or so. Then he goes deep into Scobie’s agony of guilt, I’m interested in Catholic themes of sin, guilt and redemption, but Greene takes an indulgently long time over the fall here. This was my first work by Greene in almost a decade, I enjoyed it without getting bowled over. Originally gave it three stars - who am I kidding it needs four. ( )
  FEBeyer | Oct 25, 2021 |
3.5 ( )
  jaydenmccomiskie | Sep 27, 2021 |
It's been a few months since I read this, but my feeling is one of annoyed disappointment, unless this is meant to be an ironic story about a man who makes an ultimately pointless ultimate sacrifice. Perhaps, if Scobie had had some frank, even difficult discussions with the people he thought he was protecting---if it had occurred to him that they might have something of value to say about themselves, he might have realized that his actions were unnecessary, unhelpful, and wrong. Hmmm---a lot of evil gets done by people who believe they are doing what must be done even though it causes them great suffering; at least Scobie's actions hurt him more than others. OK, maybe there's more to the novel than I thought.

It's also very hot in Western Africa.

Ah, but I nearly forgot my favorite part: Scobie is asked to read to a sick boy, who would like a murder story; alas, the only books available are those approved by missionaries who don't approve of novels. Scobie picks up A Bishop among the Bantus and then, rather than read the book, he brilliantly makes up the beginning an exciting pirate story. He explains to the boy that if someone else continues the book, it may sound a little different.

A quote:
The lights inside would have given an extraordinary impression of peace if one hadn't known, just as the stars on this clear night gave also an impression of remoteness, security, freedom. If one knew, he wondered, the facts, would one have to feel pity even for the planets? if one reached what they called the heart of the matter? [p. 111]

The main character commits suicide in a way he hopes will appear otherwise (he saves up medicine and takes it all at once) in order to protect his wife and mistress. But his wife, unknown to him, knows about his affair and his mistress is ready to move on from their relationship. I found his problem quite interesting, but he chooses his own eternal damnation for the sake of others who don't really care. ( )
  raizel | Jun 30, 2021 |
Unlike Anna Karenina, I finished this drivel hoping there would be something worthwhile in the end. There wasn't. I wanted to smack everyone for being so appallingly stupid and I couldn't wait for Scobie to kill him self and get it over with. I kept muttering "Get on with it." to the book. ( )
  KittyCunningham | Apr 26, 2021 |
El comandante de policía Henry Scobie y su mujer Louise viven desde hace años junto a otros funcionarios británicos en una remota colonia de África Occidental. Un entorno asfixiante que todos están deseando abandonar, especialmente Louise. Henry, por su parte, es un hombre íntegro que acepta estoicamente su situación y su matrimonio con una mujer por la que siente compasión más que cariño y a la que, por encima de todo, procura hacer feliz. Pero con la llegada de una inesperada visitante, los firmes principios de Henry se verán puestos a prueba.

Publicada en 1948 e inspirada en la experiencia del propio autor en Sierra Leona durante la guerra, esta novela se convirtió rápidamente en un best seller y está considerada como una de sus mejores obras. El revés de la trama ahonda en los temas predilectos de Greene: los claroscuros de la naturaleza humana, la traición a los demás y a uno mismo, el fracaso, la fe, el sacrificio y el amor llevado hasta sus últimas consecuencias. Intensa y conmovedora, es sin duda una novela inolvidable.
  ArchivoPietro | Nov 13, 2020 |
Visa 1-5 av 78 (nästa | visa alla)
A policeman's lot is not a happy one. The white (and dark) man's burden must always be heavy. And man's debt to man will be forever in arrears -- from West Africa to the West End, from Brooklyn to Bucharest. Generations of novelists have wrestled with these melancholy truisms. It is a pleasure to report that Graham Greene, in "The Heart of the Matter," has wrestled brilliantly with all three -- and scored three clean falls. Mr. Greene (as a well-earned public knows) is a profound moralist with a technique to match his purpose. From first page to last, this record of one man's breakdown on a heat-drugged fever-coast makes its point as a crystal-clear allegory -- and as an engrossing novel.
 
One thing I admire with the Heart of the Matter is the introduction of several other characters that in a way or another adds up to the genuine plot. They all seem to have a story to tell and each story affects and adds up to the conflict that has been surfacing within the inner self of Scobie.

 

» Lägg till fler författare (23 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Greene, Grahamprimär författarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Puchwein, ErichÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Wood, JamesInledningmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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He Had no sense of responsibility towards the beautiful and the graceful and the intelligent. They could find their own way. It was the face for which nobody would go out of his way, the face that would never catch the covert look, the face which would soon be used to rebuffs and indifference that demanded his allegiance. The word 'pity' is used as loosely as the word 'love' : the terrible promiscuous passion which so few experience.
Outside the rest-house he stopped again. The lights inside would have given an extraordinary impression of peace if one hadn't known, just as the stars on this clear night gave also an impression of remoteness, security, freedom. If one knew, he wondered, the facts, would one have to feel pity even for the planets? if one reached what they called the heart of the matter?
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In this widely acclaimed modern classic, Graham Greene delves deep into character to tell the dramatic, suspenseful story of a good man's conflict between passion and faith. A police commissioner in a British-governed, war-torn West African state, Scobie is bound by the strictest integrity and sense of duty both for his Colonial responsibilities and for his wife, whom he deeply pities but no longer loves. Passed over for a promotion, he is forced to borrow money in order to send his despairing wife away on a holiday. When in her absence he develops a passion for a young widow, the scrupulously honest Catholic finds himself giving way to deceit and dishonor. Enmeshed in love and intrigue, he will betray everything he believes in, with tragic consequences. The Heart of the Matter is one of Graham Greene's most enduring and tragic novels.

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