The Captain and the Enemy (Penguin Classics)

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


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

A 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.

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