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Another Affair Ends Badly

The Heart of the Matter coverI am not and have never been Catholic. But who is not familiar with the concept of Catholic guilt? I am beginning to wonder whether Graham Greene invented it. If not, he may have perfected it.

The Heart of the Matter is the third of Greene’s novels I have read. The End of the Affair and The Quiet American are the others. Each features a Catholic torn: faith and a deeply flawed marriage on one side; a deeply flawed adulterous relationship on the other. The extramarital relationships are flawed quite apart from their sinfulness in the eyes of the Church. The Catholic can’t win. Not even temporally at the expense of his (or her) mortal soul.

The three novels are united also by war and colonialism, and explore British guilt as well.

I find Greene’s themes fascinating and his writing spare and beautifully expressed.

Graham Greene’s The Heart of the Matter is listed at #73 on Bachblog’s
113 Great Novels of the 20th Century. It was first published in 1948.

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