Graham Greene


English Novelist, Short-Story Writer, Playwright

Author Quotes

When we love our sin then we are damned indeed.

You cannot love without intuition.

So it always is: when you escape to a desert the silence shouts in your ear.

Tea. He watched her while she made it, made it, of course, all wrong: the water not on the boil, the teapot unheated, too few leaves. She said, I never quite understand why English people like teas so.

The Minister had a great respect for Pyle - Pyle had taken a good degree in - well, one of those subjects Americans can take degrees in: perhaps public relations or theatre-craft, perhaps even Far Eastern studies (he had read a lot of books).

The word murder conveyed no more to him than the word 'box', 'collar', 'giraffe'.

There's nothing discreditable about jealousy, Mr. Bendrix. I always salute it as the mark of true love.

Thrillers are like life—more like life than you are... it's what we've all made of the world.

What an unbearable creature he must have been in those days--and yet in those days he had been comparatively innocent. That was another mystery: it sometimes seemed to him that venial sins--impatience, an unimportant lie, pride, a neglected opportunity--cut you off from grace more completely than the worst sins of all. Then, in his innocence, he had felt no love for anyone; now in his corruption he had learnt.

When you visualized a man or a woman carefully, you could always begin to feel pity . . . that was a quality God's image carried with it… when you saw the lines at the corners of the eyes, the shape of the mouth, how the hair grew, it was impossible to hate. Hate was just a failure of imagination.

You don't bless what you love... It's when you want to love and you can't manage it. You stretch out your hands and you say God forgive me that I can't love but bless this thing anyway...We have to bless what we hate... It would be better to love, but that's not always possible.

So long as one is happy one can endure any discipline: it was unhappiness that broke down the habits of work.

That instinct for human character that is perhaps inherent in an imaginative writer.

The moment comes when a character does or says something you hadn't thought about. At that moment he's alive and you leave it to him.

The world doesn't make any heroes anymore.

There's nothing so heavy as books, sir--unless it's bricks.

Time has its revenges, but revenge seems so often sour. Wouldn’t we all do better not trying to understand, accepting the fact that no human being will ever understand another, not a wife with a husband, nor a parent a child? Perhaps that’s why men have invented God – a being capable of understanding.

What do we ever get nowadays from reading to equal the excitement and the revelation in those first fourteen years?

Why are some of us, he wondered, unable to love success or power or great beauty? Because we feel unworthy of them, because we feel more at home with failure? He didn't believe that was the reason. Perhaps one wanted the right balance, just as Christ had, the legendary figure whom he would have liked to believe in. 'Come unto me all ye that travail are and heavy laden.' Young as the girl was at that August picnic she was heavily laden with her timidity and shame. Perhaps he had merely wanted her to feel that she was loved by someone and so he began to love her himself. It wasn't pity, any more than it had been pity when he fell in love with Sarah pregnant by another man. He was there to right the balance. That was all.

You must promise me. You can't desire the end without desiring the means.' Ah, but one can, he thought, one can: one can desire the peace of victory without desiring the ravaged towns.

So many of his prayers had remained unanswered that he had hopes that this one prayer of his had lodged all the time like wax in the Eternal ear.

That was my first instinct -- to protect him. It never occurred to me that there was a greater need to protect myself. Innocence always calls mutely for protection when we would be so much wiser to guard ourselves against it: innocence is like a dumb leper who has lost his bell, wandering the world, meaning no harm.

The more bare a life is, the more we fear change.

The world is not black and white. More like black and grey.

There's only things, Blackie.

Author Picture
First Name
Last Name
Birth Date
Death Date

English Novelist, Short-Story Writer, Playwright