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Publisher's Summary

Scobie, a police officer in a West African colony, is a good and honest man. But when he falls in love, he is forced into a betrayal of everything that he has ever believed in, and his struggle to maintain the happiness of two women destroys him.
©1971 Graham Greene (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

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By Elanjelian on 01-20-10

A Novel on Sin and Damnation

I listened to 'The Heart of the Matter' because: 1) I wanted to get acquainted with Graham Greene's writing; 2) it had won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for 1948; and 3) it was also included in both Modern Library and TIME lists.

It is a straightforward enough story about the unravelling of an honest and upright colonial police officer, Scobie. It revolves around events taking place in wartime Western Africa; in truth, however, it is more about Scobie's struggles with his own demons, his perceptions and fears, and his, ultimately futile, quest for happiness. Strangely, it seemed to me, Scobie the good hardly ever thinks about his work, except in relation to his own piety and damnation. It was as if the natives didn't have any agency at all, as if they existed merely to serve or to corrupt the White colonists.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed listening to the book for the most part. The narration, by Michael Kitchen, was also good. (It may not, however, be suitable for listening while driving -- Kitchen whispers too often.)

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful


By David on 03-05-13

my heart of the matte review

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I would recommend this book because like most Graham Greene books it's all about the story. No superfluous words or dead end digressions, every word helps make an image or pushes the next word the end.The subject matter is interesting. The main characters are defined by their actions and words and not the characters internal feelings conveyed to the reader by the omnipotent narrator which is refreshing.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Heart of the Matter?

The scene where Yusef blackmails Scobie but feels genuinely bad to use this leverage against a man he respects and wishes to befriend.

What aspect of Michael Kitchen’s performance would you have changed?

I can't recall a single moment where Micheal Kitchen's performance grated on me; to me that is very high praise.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Normally Graham Greene's books have turned into some great movies. I haven't bothered to find out if this one was made into a movie. The actions of the characters are compelling in the book because they help create the atmosphere of the story, in movies atmosphere and action are two separate things. I don't think Scobie doctoring his diary would be gripping cinema unless you knew why. And if they explained why it would ruin the ending of a movie.

Any additional comments?

most if not all Graham Greene novels have a cynical conclusion, this is no exception. This is a story about a man who truly loves god and the final act his Catholic guilt is taken to an incredible extreme. There's no silver lining at the end of this one, but a great read regardless.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By DartmoorDiva on 09-24-15

Just brilliant

A brilliant book brilliantly read. I read all Graham Greene's work 30 years ago and felt it was time to revisit. I wasn't sure if I would like Michael Kitchen's reading as I have got to know him so well through his TV work, but he was absolutely superb. I became completely absorbed and, through his skilful reading, I enjoyed the book even more than I did the first time around.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful


By Anne Bingham on 04-16-11

Hot and Steamy

While the story is a little on the simple side Graham Greene manages to capture the atmosphere of the west African colony during war time. The climate is hot and steamy and the social scene is claustrophobic to say the least. The narrator captures the feel of the book perfectly.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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