From Dickens to Wildeâ€”literary criticism and personal reflections by a master â€śunmatched . . . in his uncanny psychological insightsâ€ť (The New York Times).
Graham Greene shares his love affair with reading in this collection of essays, memories, and critical considerations, both affectionate and tart, â€ś[that] could have come from no other source than the author of Brighton Rock and The Power and the Gloryâ€ť (The Scotsman).
Whether following the obsessions of Henry James, marveling at the â€śindispensibleâ€ť Beatrix Potter, or exploring the Manichean world of Oliver Twist, Graham Greene revisits the books and authors of his lifetime. Here is Greene on Fielding, Doyle, Kipling, and Conrad; on The Prisoner of Zenda and the â€śrevolutionary . . . colossal egoismâ€ť of Laurence Sternâ€™s epic comic novel, Tristram Shandy; on the adventures of both Allan Quatermain and Moll Flanders; and more. Greene strolls among the musty oddities and folios sold on the cheap at an outdoor book mart, tells of a bizarre literary hoax perpetrated on a hapless printseller in eighteenth-century Pall Mall, and in the titular essay, reveals the book that unlocked his imagination so thoroughly that he decided to write forever. For Greene, â€śall the other possible futures slid away.â€ť
In this prismatic gallery of profound influences and guiltless pleasures, Greene proves himself â€śso intensely alive that the reader cannot but respond to the dazzling combination of intelligence and strong feelingâ€ť (Edward Sackville West).