* 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.
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