‘What twentieth-century books will survive thirty or forty years more?’ Graham Greene once pondered. ‘How long will anyone be read?’ In his case, at least, a quick glance at Amazon shows the Greene backlist is in good health. What’s more, the number of people still reading his books is almost equalled by those who want to read about Greene himself. In the nearly twenty years since he died (of leukaemia in 1991) there has been a steady stream of biographies, memoirs and ‘other reading’, of which the most monumental is Norman Sherry’s trilogy, begun while its subject was still alive.
To the throng has now sort of been added Shades of Greene – sort of, because it covers not just the one Greene but a host of them. And what a bunch they were. Writers, travellers, mountaineers, spies, broadcasters, film-makers, architects, would-be politicians – you could hardly ask