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Greene On Capri

Shirley Hazzard

6 Reviews

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Biography: general, Prose: non-fiction

* The subtle portrait of a great but difficult man on the legendary island of Capri by the renowned author of THE TRANSIT OF VENUS

When friends die, one's own credentials change: one becomes a survivor. Graham Greene has already had biographers, one of whom has served him mightily. Yet I hope that there is room for the remembrance of a friend who knew him - not wisely, perhaps, but fairly well - on an island that was ''not his kind of place,'' but where he came season after season, year after year & where he, too, will be subsumed into the capacious story.'
For millennia the cliffs of Capri have sheltered pleasure-seekers & refugees alike, among them the emperors Augustus & Tiberius, Henry James, Rilke & Lenin, plus hosts of artists, eccentrics & outcasts. Here in the 1960s Graham Greene became friends with Shirley Hazzard & her husband, the writer Francis Steegmuller; their friendship lasted until Greene's death in 1991. In GREENE ON CAPRI, Hazzard uses their ever volatile intimacy as a prism through which to illuminate Greene's mercurial character, his work & talk & the extraordinary literary culture that long thrived on this ravishing, enchanted island.

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Praise for Greene On Capri

  • A little masterpiece of reminiscence... reading a personal sketch of this quality makes me think that perhaps the conventional biography is just a grandiose dump-bin for all those elements of life that do not matter - MAIL ON SUNDAY

  • Her observations are penetrating, her style is superb, and her range of literary reference is the equal of his. Marvellous - TIME OUT

  • Shirley Hazzard achieves an astonishing amount in less than 150 pages ... Her memoir, like the island it so fondly describes, is a real gem to which the reader will wish to return - SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

  • Shirley Hazzard is highly observant and alarmingly intelligent; she is also erudite, precise and morally scrupulous. Her short book is not only a joy to read for its lucid, thoughtful prose, but also a refreshing antidote to biographical overkill and presumption. As a picture of Graham Greene, it is like an Ingres portrait drawing: small, but miraculously clear - Spectator

  • An affectionate but not uncritical portrait of a companion who could be charming but also provocative... it is a convincing picture of a man who has been much and excellently written about but seldom with so astute and yet so warm an eye - Times Literary Supplement

  • Charming... succinct and satisfying... her memoir, like the island it so fondly describes, is a real gem to which the reader will wish to return - Sunday Telegraph

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Shirley Hazzard

Shirley Hazzard is the author of Greene on Capri, a memoir of Graham Greene, and several works of fiction, including The Evening of The Holiday, The Bay of Noon, and The Transit of Venus, winner of the 1981 National Book Critics Circle Award. She lives in New York City and Capri.

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