Graham Greene


English Novelist, Short-Story Writer, Playwright

Author Quotes

Reality in our century is not something to be faced.

It was an evening which, by some mysterious combination of failing light and the smell of an unrecognized plant, brings back to some men the sense of childhood and of future hope and to others the sense of something which has been lost and almost forgotten.

Knowledge was the great thing--not abstract knowledge in which Dr. Forester had been so rich, the theories which lead one enticingly on with their appearance of nobility, of transcendent virtue, but detailed, passionate, trivial human knowledge.

Men have prayed in prison, men have prayed in slums and concentration camps. It's only the middle classes who demand to pray in suitable surroundings.

Of course, before we know he is a saint, there will have to be miracles.

Ordinary life goes on--that has saved many a man's reason.

Rocinante was of more value for a true traveler than a jet plane. Jet planes were for business men.

It was as though our love were a small creature caught in a trap and bleeding to death: I had to shut my eyes and wring its neck.

Lies had deserted me, and I felt as lonely as though they had been my only friends.

Most things disappoint till you look deeper.

Of course,' I said, 'you know her so much better than I ever did.' In some ways,' he said gloomily, and I knew he was thinking of the very ways in which I had known her the best.

Our brother is at this moment reabsorbed in the universal spirit. [Priest at Hale's cremation]

Rooms don't change, ornaments stand where you place them: only the heart decays.

It was like hate on a deathbed.

Life was a series of complicated tactical exercises.

My fellow journalists called themselves correspondents; I preferred the title of reporter. I wrote what I saw. I took no action -- even an opinion is a kind of action.

Of two hearts one is always warm and one is always cold: the cold heart is more precious than diamonds: the warm heart has no value and is thrown away.

Our heroes are simple: they are brave, they tell the truth, they are good swordsmen and they are never in the long run really defeated. That is why no later books satisfy us like those which were read to us in childhood—for those promised a world of great simplicity of which we knew the rules, but the later books are complicated and contradictory with experience; they are formed out of our own disappointing memories.

It was like having a box of chocolates shut in the bedroom drawer. Until the box was empty it occupied the mind too much.

Life would go out in a 'fraction of a second' (that was the phrase), but all night he had been realizing that time depends on clocks and the passage of light. There were no clocks and the light wouldn't change. Nobody really knew how long a second of pain could be. It might last a whole purgatory--or for ever.

My passion for Sarah had killed simple lust forever. Never again would I be able to enjoy a woman without love.

Oh well, perhaps when you're my age you'll know the heart is an untrustworthy beast. The mind too, but it doesn't talk about love.

Pain is easy to write. In pain we're all happily individual. But what can one write about happiness?

It was nearly lunch-time before Blackie had finished and went in search of T. Chaos had advanced. The kitchen was a shambles of broken glass and china, the dining-room was stripped of parquet, the skirting was up, the door had been taken off its hinges, and the destroyers had moved up a floor. Streaks of light came in through the closed shutters where they worked with the seriousness of creators - and destruction after all is a form of creation. A kind of imagination had seen this house as it had now become.

Like Johns, I am one of the little men, not interested in ideologies, tied to a flat Cambridgeshire landscape, a chalk quarry, a line of willows across the featureless fields, a market town--his thoughts scrabbled at the curtain--where he used to dance at the Saturday hops.

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English Novelist, Short-Story Writer, Playwright