Before you get excited, Greene’s The Comedians isn’t funny. Well, it has it’s funny bits, but overall it’s not something you’d see on Saturday Night Live.
I know I haven’t had the best things to say about the recent Greene novels I’ve read, but I actually really enjoyed this one. The back cover sounded completely boring “three men meet on a boat headed for Haiti…” snooze! But wait! Mr. Brown, Major Jones, and Mr. Smith (very boring sounding names, I know) all meet on the Medea headed for Haiti and quickly become acquaintances until Major Jones is found out to be a liar and is taken into police custody as soon as the ship docks. Brown owns a hotel in Haiti and is having an affair with the ambassador’s wife, Martha. Mr. Smith and his kind of annoying wife, Mrs. Smith, stay at Brown’s hotel.
Action quickly starts up as a body is found in the pool of the hotel and needs to be hidden from the Tontons Macoute (the secret police/rebel army in Haiti).
Greene (as I mentioned in an earlier post) was known for writing characters with “coloured” names that were supposed to show a part of himself. In this novel that character would obviously be Mr. Brown. Brown is a very jealous and stubborn man. He doesn’t trust or believe Martha at all and yet continues to have an affair with her. Greene was known for having affairs throughout his life and so maybe the storyline with Martha is a based on one of his many affairs.
The novel is a bit political with a lot of focus on dictatorship with a bit of Capitalism thrown in. I’m not a political person at all and I found the novel really easy to follow and full of twists and turns. Definite must read!