Bernard Diederich -- The Seeds of Fiction -- Gables
Feb 26 2013 8:00 pm
An essential read for fans of
literary biography, TheSeeds of Fiction (Peter Owen, $29.95) finally and fully
illuminates a pivotal episode in Graham Greene's life and career in the kind of
detail that will sate any fans of his work, but which also provides a
fascinating glimpse into a writer's life. In 1965, Greene joined journalist Bernard Diederich in the Dominican
Republic to embark on a tour of its border with Haiti, then ruled by "Papa
Doc" Duvalier. They were accompanied by activist priest Jean-Claude Bajeux.
The famous novelist was 61 and depressed, having struggled to finish A
Burnt-Out Case, and was being plagued by religious doubt; Bajeux,
meanwhile, had been informed that his family had been "disappeared"
by Duvalier's henchmen. As this
trio traveled along the border they met a number of rebels and other characters
later fictionalized in Greene's most politically charged novel, The Comedians,
published the following year. This book tells the story of how a series of
extraordinary and often hair-raising journeys gave one of the greatest
novelists of the 20th century new inspiration in his writing.