zondag 16 juli 2017

"A Burnt-Out Case" by Graham Greene

"Liking is a great deal safer than love. It doesn't demand victims."

Querry is a famous architect who is tired of life. He doesn’t feel anything anymore, no drive for his work, no love, no faith - he has nothing more to live for. He escapes the misery of his life by travelling anonymously to a leper colony in the Congo, where he just wants to be left alone. But his intentions are misunderstood - people start believing he's a hero for leaving a successful career behind and helping the lepers. Before to soon a journalist arrives who wants to tell Querry's story to the world. While Querry was gradually starting to heal, tragedy now looms.

It's interesting to see how Greene compares Querry to Deo Gratias, a native who has been diagnosed as a 'burnt-out case' - a leper who is pronounced cured, because he has lost everything that can be eaten away by the leprosy. Querry's mental state is similar to this.

There's very little story here, but the characters are absolutely marvelous. Lots of very philosophical dialogue, but I wasn't bored for a minute. It's a deep-felt novel about suffering and happiness, love and loathing, religion and faith ... This is another of Greene's absolutely brilliant novels. There's very little story here, but the characters are absolutely marvellous. As with some of his other novels, it's very dark and depressing, but there's so much humanity in these pages that it's irresistable. Greene has definitely become one of my very favourite authors.

Author: Graham Greene
Title: A Burnt-Out Case
Publisher: Vintage, London
Year: 2004 (orig. 1960)
Number of pages: 192 p.
ISBN: 9780099478430 

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