Thursday, August 24, 2006

A Country of Disappointment and Despair

30+ hours in and everything is surprisingly ok. The caffeine headaches were crippling yesterday, but they've subsided to a dull roar today. I didn't wake up hungry, which is impressive. I had some weirder-than-hell dreams, but don't know that those are connected.

* * *

#30 - "The Lawless Roads" by Graham Greene

Finished this a few days ago and just haven't had time to sit down and set out my thoughts. For some reason, though I love Greene and love travel lit, I've generally been slightly disappointed by his non-fiction journeys. They aren't bad, not by any stretch of the imagination, but they don't match up to his finest work, and they don't match up to the finest travel writing.

"The Lawless Roads" is something of a precursor to one of my favorite Greene novels, "The Power and the Glory" -- an account of GG's wanderings through 1930s Mexico, during a time when religion was suppressed.

He's got a very keen eye, and some of the book's finest moments come when he recounts some small slice of life. The trip sounds like it was very unpleasant, though, and that seeps through into the writing. It's well-written, of course, but I can think of a bunch of Greene novels I'd recommend before this one.


Anonymous said...

I'm sure it wasn't the most pleasant of journeys, but from the books and stories I've read of Greene's he seems to exhibit a rather low tolerance for seediness.

And he made me never ever want to ever go to Liberia. Ever.


gsdgsd13 said...

Yeah, exactly. It's worth noting, I guess, that both "Journey Without Maps" and "The Lawless Roads" were written when he was fairly young and unhardened -- I get the impression that later in life he would have been much better able to handle these things.

But yeah, if I were a tourism bureau, I would've given him a lot of money not to visit.