Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Heart of the Matter - post IV

Poor old Scobie he reminds you of a Kafka character as he drifts through the final stages unable to resist the inevitable end being bullied by his wife, mistress, blackmailer and God. With Wilson, whom you never really get to see other than glimpses, Greene creates a character that you loathe because even after Scobie has died he is after him trying to prove he committed suicide. But presumably that is the fortune teller getting it right because he does catch his man, even after death.

Bullet points between pages 210 – 272

* With his wife back Scobie faces pressure over his relationship with Helen and is dragged along to communion and Mass in an attempt by his wife to get him to turn his back on his adultery something she becomes aware of after Wilson tells her

* Ironically Scobie is offered the position of Police Commissioner after all, which makes his wife happy, and had it happened earlier would have meant he could have avoided all of his current problems

* The struggle with God becomes almost an obsession for Scobie as he confesses frankly to the priest and keeps calling for some sort of divine retribution for his continuing sins against God and his wife

* Scobie starts to believe he cannot trust anyone and visits Yusef and opens up to him telling him that he can not even trust his servant Ali who is then sent for but turns up dead outside the Syrians office with his throat cut

* That seems to mark the turning point and after that Scobie imitates the symptoms of angina and starts storing the tablets for a fatal overdose, which he takes hoping that although it means as a catholic he is dammed he has at last found peace

* But after the death Wilson comes sniffing round and points out that entries in the diary to emphasise the illness have been added and suggests suicide a thought that obviously sticks with Louise his widow because the book ends with her arguing with the priest over why he committed suicide

A review follows in a couple of days after this has all been mulled over. Next up for a change in tone but from the same author I’m going to dust off a copy of Our Man in Havana that has been on the shelf for the past couple of years…

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