Graham Greene


English Novelist, Short-Story Writer, Playwright

Author Quotes

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

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.

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 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.

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 hate on a deathbed.

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

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.

My second wife - I was still young then - she left me, and I made the mistake of winning her back. It took me years to lose her again after that. She was a good woman. It is not easy to lose a good woman. If one must marry it is better to marry a bad woman.

Oh, I’m not a Berkeleian. I believe my back’s against this wall. I believe there’s a sten gun over there.

People don't like reality; they don't like common sense until age forces it on them.

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 some wines our love could neither mature nor travel.

My second wife left me because she said I was too ambitious. She didn't realize that it is only the dying who are free from ambition. And they probably have the ambition to live. Some men disguise their ambition--that's all. I was in a position to help this young man my wife loved. He soon showed his ambition then. There are different types of ambition - that is all, and my wife found she preferred mine. Because it was limitless. They do not feel the infinite is an unworthy rival, but for a man to prefer the desk of an assistant manager - that is an insult.

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English Novelist, Short-Story Writer, Playwright