‘ahems and ahahs’

Literature, & Etc.

REVIEW: The Ministry of Fear by Graham Greene

with one comment

Arthur Rowe is an ordinary man. Scratch that, Arthur Rowe is an ordinary criminal. Scratch that, Arthur Rowe is insignificant. Arthur is all of these things and much more. Arthur is a man trying to forget the past, a past wrought with crime and pain. Arthur does this by way of making his present as small as possible, yet this is all in vain. Arthur Rowe’s life is about to become very complicated. Set amidst the London Bombings, Graham Greene has constructed a world in which the grander more worrisome aspects of war are set aside when compared with the more personal. As Joseph Stalin once notably quoted: “A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.” Graham has expanded upon this and focuses his story on the tragedy set amidst the millions of statistics.

A chance encounter at a local fair and the winning of a cake are all that is required to turn Arthur Rowe’s quiet world upside down. Soon Arthur is on the run from the police, and drawn into a world of intrigue, suspense, murder, and espionage.

Graham draws the reader into a world where everyone is suspect, the police, the government, lovers, even one’s own memory are not to be trusted. Playing on classic “film-noir” style genre, and the common trope of the innocent man stumbling upon a not so innocent world, Graham turns this novel into a vehicle to comment on the everyday fears of citizens during war time. What makes this novel so striking is that the individual who carries the novel, while seemingly innocent, is a grotesque of society, a castoff, a man of the lowest rungs of society.

Definitely worth checking out at the library or picking up at your local bookstore. Cheers.

Written by thebeliever07

July 27, 2008 at 7:17 pm

One Response

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  1. Great review – we need a revitalization of all of Greene’s work.


    July 28, 2008 at 10:35 am

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