Thursday, January 28, 2010

Greene Gems

Is it possible to write two people better -- or more succinctly -- than this?

“Jules,” she said. “Jules, can’t you wait?” but she had no wish to wait, she welcomed him; she only regretted the promptitude of the embrace when it was so quickly finished that it might have been no more than the gesture he had made her in the park, a salutation across the street. He was with her, he was in her, he was away from her, brushing his hair before the glass, whistling a tune.

“Oh stop it,” she said. He glared at her; he had an idea that he had not satisfied, and he was irritated. He would have been humiliated but for the thought that there were months and years ahead; they were going to marry; he would do better next time. The window was open and he could smell bacon frying in the kitchen below. “Eggs and bacon,” he said. “I’m hungry.” He forgot for a moment what they had just been doing; there was so little to remind him of it, now that his body was quiet again.

She said: “I’m not hungry,” sullenly.
From It's a Battlefield, by Graham Greene
(New York: The Viking Press, 1934)
And in fact the whole novel is a masterpiece of Greene's pointilist style.

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