cover image In Search of a Beginning: My Life with Graham Greene

In Search of a Beginning: My Life with Graham Greene

Yvonne Cloetta, , as told to Marie-Françoise Allain, trans. from the French by Euan Camer. Bloomsbury U.K., $30 (209pp) ISBN 978-0-7475-7112-4

The latest biographic treatment of the famously secretive Greene comes from his third mistress, whom the often depressed novelist dubbed his "Healthy, Happy Kitten." Throughout their 30-year relationship, which she describes as "one long secret," Cloetta kept a diary that Greene not only read, but also corrected and wrote comments in. The frequent quotations from his marginalia buttress Cloetta's careful revelations about the Graham Greene she knew from their first meeting in Cameroon in 1959 to his death in 1991 in Vevey. Although Cloetta reveals few intimate details of their affair, she does divulge the human side of her lover, such as his superstitions, including a fear of the letter C . She also describes Greene secretly taking a minor role in a Truffaut film, dining with Charlie Chaplin on the Côte d'Azur and finally visiting his friend the double-agent Kim Philby in the USSR's twilight. Allain, who interviewed Greene for her book The Other Man , may not have pressed Cloetta (who died in 2001) , but she proves a sympathetic and well-informed interlocutor in this light conversation-memoir. 14 b&w photos. Agent, Bloomsbury U.K. (Aug.)