Magazine article World Literature Today

Seeds of Fiction: Graham Greene's Adventures in Haiti and Central America, 1954-1983

Magazine article World Literature Today

Seeds of Fiction: Graham Greene's Adventures in Haiti and Central America, 1954-1983

Article excerpt

Bernard Diederich. Seeds of Fiction: Graham Greene's Adventures in Haiti and Central America, 1954-1983. Pico Iyer, foreword. London / Chicago. Peter Owen (IPG, distr.). 2012. isbn 9780720614886

In a Time magazine movie review of Graham Greene's The Comedians, its critic commented that the screenplay had "everything but economy . . . a story that might have been twice as good at half the length." This might also apply to Seeds of Fiction.

Bernard Diederich, a journalist born in New Zealand, founded an English-language newspaper in Haiti, became a resident correspondent for various US and English papers, was arrested by Papa Doc's Tonton Macoutes, expelled from the country, and met and traveled with Greene throughout Haiti and Central America.

Diederich admits to being in awe of his subject, describing his subject as a "warm, self-deprecating man, whose boyish exuberance followed him into old age" and for whom "there was no doubting the sincerity of his concern about the human condition." Greene never lost his eagerness for adventure, which Diederich vividly describes in his account of their travels in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Panama.

Greene's books usually had appropriate settings: The Power and the Glory (Mexico), The Quiet American (Vietnam), The Heart of the Matter (West Africa), A Burnt-out Case (Central Africa), Our Man in Havana (Cuba), and The Comedians, set in Papa Doc's Haiti. …

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