The Last Word, and Other Stories

Graham Greene, Author Viking Penguin $18.95 (149p) ISBN 978-1-871061-23-9
In his latest collection of short stories, spanning some 60 years of a prolific writing life, the range and development of Greene's ( The Heart of the Matter ) gifts are abundantly evident. In ``The Lottery Ticket'' (1947), Mr. Thriplow, a bachelor caught in the throes of ``timidity,'' vacations in a desolate Mexican town and becomes embroiled in his own guilt (and the town's corrupt government) after winning a local lottery. In ``Work Not in Progress'' a bishop of Melbourne falls in love with a female thug masquerading as the archbishop of Canterbury. These are but a few in the array of vintage Greene characters, many leaping from the page. Of the dozen stories offered, only four have previously appeared in books; one (``A Branch of the Service'') sees print here for the first time. The growth of Greene's technique is readily observable, from the realistic (``The New House,'' 1929) to the carefully ironic (``An Appointment with the General,'' 1982). The order of the stories is also pleasing, beginning with fiction that calls on memory, moving on to the detective genre and even including a piece constructed as a musical comedy. In all, the volume serves admirably well as a microcosmic view of Greene's entire body of work to date. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
Paperback - 160 pages - 978-0-14-014508-3
Paperback - 149 pages - 978-0-14-118157-8
Hardcover - 184 pages - 978-1-85089-488-9
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