He relates some of his contact with the press, as well as with film. There are brushes with the law in the form of libel actions. Throughout, one feels his respect for his fellow professionals is at best limited. He even describes the word “media” as applicable to bad journalism, clearly placing himself above the label.
But above all it is experienced reality that provides the gems. His description of bombardment in Sinai rings both true and vivid. “I remembered the blitz, but the blitz had one great advantage – the pubs remained open.” Such attention to detail alongside direct experience is what brings Graham Greene’s prose to life, and it is this rooting in the reality of experience that prods the reader into reaction. This is a masterwork by a master technician.
But it is the book’s epilogue that, for me, provided a supremely apt and yet provocative coda. Here is a man who has imagined others, given them life in print and film, a man who seems to have little confidence in his own ability or thought for his consequence. And, we learn, he is a man who might even be someone else, someone who claims to be him, an Other. The juxtaposition of this idea with a life lived is both thought-provoking and disturbing – a masterstroke by a master of his craft, even his art.