A nameless West African village, claustrophobic, soaking heat and decay permeating everything. The conscientious but bored middle-aged British officer Scobie takes a mistress, creating an unbearable confluence of pity, desire, duty and his Catholic sense of the irredeemability of unrepented sin. Only Dostoevsky could rival such an inner landscape in this, the greatest of Greene's novels, a harrowing investigation of a soul contested by hope and despair, quietly slipping, if possible, beyond the long arm of grace. 272 pp.
An Eighth Day View:
""Wilson"" sat on the balcony of the Bedford Hotel with his bald pink knees thrust against the ironwork...""
Graham Greene's masterpiece The Heart of the Matter tells the story of a good man enmeshed in love, intrigue, and evil in a West African coastal town. Scobie is bound by strict integrity to his role as assistant police commissioner and by severe responsibility to his wife, Louise, for whom he cares with a fatal pity.
When Scobie falls in love with the young widow Helen, he finds vital passion again yielding to pity, integrity giving way to deceit and dishonor--a vortex leading directly to murder. As Scobie's world crumbles, his personal crisis makes for a novel that is suspenseful, fascinating, and, finally, tragic.
Originally published in 1948, The Heart of the Matter is the unforgettable portrait of one man, flawed yet heroic, destroyed and redeemed by a terrible conflict of passion and faith. This Penguin Deluxe Edition features an introduction by James Wood.