Friday, January 22, 2010
The Heart of the Matter
I've had this ill-gotten Graham Greene nestled among my books for what must be years now (sorry Pi!) but only just started reading it. It proved an excellent companion to this morning's $5 haircut, and has been haunting me since. It's one of those days when you read certain passages and feel certain they were written for you.
Just up to the part where protagonist Henry Scobie is packing off his wife Louise to South Africa. She's restless and friendless in the steamy West African colony where he's stationed with the police; he longs for the peace he knows will come with her absence.
"It seemed horrible to both of them that now they would be glad when the separation was complete: they could settle down when once this ragged leave-taking was over to a different life which again would exclude change...
They could say nothing now which wasn't formal; unreality cloaked their movements. Although they could touch each other it was as if the whole coastline of a continent was already between them: their words were like the stilted sentences of a bad letter-writer."
According to foreshadowing and the back of the book jacket he's going to "methodically consign himself to an eternity in hell" which I'd say means suicide, getting friendly with a lot of the local ladies, or both.