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A life in the shadows

By September 6, 2020September 9th, 2020No Comments

I’ve written before about how a book cover can make or break the success of a book.

‘Russian Roulette’ seems to me to be an admirable example of all the elements working in favour of this new biography.

If you haven’t read any of Graham Greene’s novels or ‘entertainments’, you’ve missed out on one of the great stylists of the second half of the twentieth century.

And an examination of his life proves just as dramatic as his writing. The title of this new biography refers to Greene’s youthful attempts at suicide, more as an antidote to boredom than anything else.

He spent the rest of his life in some of the most dangerous places on the planet, as well as operating in the shadow-filled world of espionage.

On the cover of this book, the sniper sights picking out an unsuspecting man tell us of the intrigue and drama of Greene’s life. Simiarly the giant shadow thrown on the wall are an immediate reminder of ‘The Third Man’, Carol Reed’s drama set in post-war Vienna (with a screenplay by Greene).

The dominant palette of red and black are immediate attention-grabbers, while the type is as elegant, spartan and stylish as Greene’s prose.