Monday, 9 July 2012

Book #60 The Human Factor by Graham Greene

The Human Factor

The Human Factor is an espionage novel by the respected British author Graham Greene. It is the second novel of his I have read, the first being the The End Of The Affair earlier this year.

By strange coincidence the central couple of this novel, like in The End Of The Affair are called Maurice and Sarah, but are completely different characters, I'm not au fait with the work of Greene and don't know what the significance of this is.

In this instance Maurice works for the security services, specifically in intelligence regarding the African continent and courted controversy when placed abroad by marrying a Bantu woman, Sarah.

When a security breach occurs, Maurice's department falls under investigation.

As with The End Of The Affair, I found it hard to establish a steady flow of reading with The Human Factor and read it in fits and starts, it could be quite dry on the page and the characters and setting reflect that the reality of security services work is more pen pushing than James Bond. This pen pushing extends to a cavalier attitude to death, just another job to get done.

The characters, including Maurice, are quite psychologically isolated and detached from real intimacies, altered by the nature of their suspicious profession.    This made them hard to engage with as people, although by the end, you feel pity and sadness for Maurice.

Though it had an austerity to it, it was also interesting, enough to make me want to follow it through to its conclusion, but I must say I made correct guesses about certain aspects of plot rather early on. 7/10

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