Staff Pick: Graham Greene’s The Captain and the Enemy

October 14, 2009

“Sometimes I think he lies just for the sake of lying. Or perhaps he wants to keep everything hidden.”

coverA curious late-career entry from Graham Greene, The Captain and the Enemy was published in 1988 when the master-storyteller was the tender age of 84. In it, our narrator recounts how, as a boy, he was whisked away from his boarding school by The Captain, a sly, adventurous sort who claimed to be acquainted with the boy’s much-loathed father. The boy winds up in the care of Liza as the Captain disappears for months, years at a time, seeking his fortune and seeking to provide for Liza.

Years later, the boy, now grown, seeks out the long-gone Captain in Panama, and falls into the middle of the Captain’s most dangerous scheme yet.

Truth and lies, family and belonging are all woven together the Graham Greene way – with plenty of Englishmen abroad. And plenty of scoundrels.

is a writer in Toronto, Canada, and passes his days as a copy editor with The Globe and Mail. He spends his moments of leisure listening to music, reading, watching films and prowling the streets of Toronto, and he feels that he is long-overdue for a vacation so that he can do more of those things. At any given time, he is probably pining for distant shores and really should do more traveling and less pining.