The Heart of the Matter

English language

Published Feb. 21, 2004


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5 stars (1 review)

The Heart of the Matter (1948) is a novel by English author Graham Greene. The book details a life-changing moral crisis for Henry Scobie. Greene, a former British intelligence officer in Freetown, British Sierra Leone, drew on his experience there. Although Freetown is not mentioned in the novel, Greene confirms the location in his 1980 memoir, Ways of Escape. The Heart of the Matter was enormously popular, selling more than 300,000 copies in the United Kingdom upon its release. It won the 1948 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked The Heart of the Matter 40th on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. In 2005, the novel was chosen by Time magazine as one of the one hundred best English-language novels from 1923 to the present. In 2012, it was shortlisted for the Best of the James Tait …

2 editions

Review of 'The Heart of the Matter' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

It's been a good long while since I've achieved such perfect sympathy for a character as I have with Scobie - so much so that I almost completely lost my capacity for joy for three days. I worry what it says about my interior life that I believe it to be impossible for me to so thoroughly connect with a novel in which levity and happiness is a likely outcome. It must be time for a comic palate cleanser or two.

Graham Greene. Damn.