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A Burnt-Out Case af Graham Greene
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A Burnt-Out Case (original 1960; udgave 1992)

af Graham Greene (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1,615207,750 (3.87)41
Querry, a world famous architect, is the victim of a terrible attack of indifference- he no longer finds meaning in art of pleasure in life. Arriving anonymously at a Congo leper village, he is diagnosed as the mental equivalent of a 'burnt-out case', a leper who has gone through a stage of mutilation. However, as Querry loses himself in work for the lepers his disease of mind slowly approaches a cure. Then the white community finds out who Querry is...… (mere)
Medlem:paulepps
Titel:A Burnt-Out Case
Forfattere:Graham Greene (Forfatter)
Info:Penguin Classics (1992), Edition: Reprint, 208 pages
Samlinger:2020
Vurdering:****1/2
Nøgleord:20th century, africa, british literature, catholicism, congo, leprosy, religion

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A Burnt-Out Case af Graham Greene (1960)

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Engelsk (17)  Hollandsk (1)  Spansk (1)  Svensk (1)  Alle sprog (20)
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I'm finishing up with the volumes of Graham Greene I've missed reading so far. And this is one of them. Frankly, I'm surprised how much I enjoyed it. But that is always the case with Greene. In starting out his novels, I always think that "this one" will disappoint in light of the quality of those I've read up to then. But then it doesn't. The author writes at such a sustained level of greatness.

In A Burnt Out Case, Greene captures the utter exhaustion with life his hero, Querry, feels. Not even escaping to a leper colony in the remotest part of Africa allows him to escape. Always on Querry's trail is his past. And the leper colony is just one stop short of being far enough away from that past.

The plot and the storyline are especially efficient. At the end, Querry hasn't traveled far, geographically, in this novel. And neither does he travel very far spiritually. Life will not let him. Like one of the mutilated lepers, Querry has no where else to go. ( )
  PaulCornelius | Apr 12, 2020 |
“The Superior with old-fashioned politeness ground out his cheroot, but Mme Rycker was no sooner seated than absent-mindedly he lit another. His desk was littered with hardware catalogues and scraps of paper on which he had made elaborate calculations that always came out differently, for he was a bad mathematician – multiplication with him was an elaborate form of addition and a series of subtractions would take the place of long division. One page of a catalogue was open at the picture of a bidet which the Superior had mistaken for a new kind of foot-bath. When Mme Rycker entered he was trying to calculate whether he could afford to buy three dozen of these for the leproserie: they were just the thing for washing leprous feet." ( )
  proteaprince | Dec 18, 2019 |
Well, goshdarnit. I'd just written up an erudite, detailed review of A BURNT-OUT CASE, and the computer ate it. So, what the hell, this books's been around for over fifty years, and in that time it's been acknowledged as one of Graham Greene's best. I'll concur with that, being a Greene fan. I've also read THE POWER AND THE GLORY, THE QUIET AMERICAN and THE HUMAN FACTOR. All were simply superb. And so was this one, set in a leper colony in the Congo, with subtle nods to HEART OF DARKNESS and Father Damien. Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from the book: "Why did he [God] give us genitals then if he wanted us to think clearly?" ... and ... "Sometimes I think God was not entirely serious when he gave man the sexual instinct."

Yes,there's a lot in here about the Catholic Church and religion, which is true of almost all of Greene's books, but the above quotes indicate that even a great novelist like Greene understood that sometimes even the most intelligent of men are ruled by baser instincts. This is a great book. Greene was at the top of his game. My highest recommendation.

- Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir, BOOKLOVER ( )
  TimBazzett | Sep 9, 2017 |
This book was a little too dark and haunting for me, but very well written. The main character, Querry, is a world famous architect and womanizer who attempts to "disappear" from the world by retreating to a leper colony run by the Catholic church deep in the Congo forest. Like lepers who lose feeling in affected limbs, he believes he has lost the capacity to feel. As usual with Greene, as Querry "recovers" his ability to feel, he also recovers his susceptability to pain. ( )
1 stem kaitanya64 | Jan 3, 2017 |
‘Oh yes, make no mistake, one does. One comes to an end.’
‘What are you here for then? To make love to a black woman?’
‘No. One comes to an end of that too. Possibly sex and a vocation are born and die together. Let me roll bandages or carry buckets. All I want is to pass the time.’
‘I thought you wanted to be of use.’
‘Listen,’ Querry said and then fell silent.
‘I am listening.’


To me this quote perfectly describes A Burnt Out Case - it is a story about communication and miscommunication.

When Querry, a world famous architect, struggles to find any interest in life he decides to walk out and take up living in a leper colony in the Congo. Fed up with fame and having to cater to taste of people who do not share his vision or ability to imagine, he hopes that no one would recognise him, and all he wants to do is to be of use to the people around him.

However, things don't go to plan. Even at the leper colony he encounters a band of expats who badger him about his past life. As little by little the reasons for his burn-out are revealed, Querry starts to recover from the depression he experienced only to be confronted with the same paradox he tried to flee from.

"‘Two of your churches are famous. Didn’t you care what happened inside them – to people?’
‘The acoustics had to be good of course. The high altar had to be visible to all. But people hated them. They said they weren’t designed for prayer. They meant that they were not Roman or Gothic or Byzantine. And in a year they had cluttered them up with their cheap plaster saints; they took out my plain windows and put in stained glass dedicated to dead pork-packers who had contributed to diocesan funds, and when they had destroyed my space and my light, they were able to pray again, and they even became proud of what they had spoilt.'"


3.5* really. ( )
  BrokenTune | Aug 21, 2016 |
Viser 1-5 af 20 (næste | vis alle)
he somewhat forbidding title of Graham Greene's new novel is a term used for those victims of leprosy who can be cured because the disease has eaten about all that it wants -- toes, ears, fingers. They no longer suffer the excruciating pains of those who undergo cure with their bodies intact. Pain is the alternative to mutilation.

"A Burnt-Out Case" is a fascinating study of the relationship of suffering, especially freely accepted suffering -- to wholeness. Greene has set his novel in a remote African leprosery run by nuns and priests. They have as their unexpected guest an internationally famous architect named Querry who arrives incognito, trying to escape as far as possible from his past.

Querry is himself a burnt-out case. He is no longer moved to design a building or sleep with a woman. His love of women was really self-love, and his artistic self-expression was the kind that consumes the self. Even when he was creating modern churches, Querry's art was inhuman, a matter of space and light and textures, with no feeling either for people or prayers. Now whatever fed his vocation has ceased to exist. In his terrible aloneness and deadness he can neither suffer nor laugh.

The novel tells the story of Querry's gradual recovery, or what would have been recovery if the world he tried to flee had let him alone. But a celebrated journalist seeks out Querry, a fat man who "carries his corruption on the surface of his skin like phosphorous." He wants a story that will have the appeal of the stories about Dr. Schweitzer at Lanbarene. With the aid of a neighboring colon, he cooks up a sensational story which falsifies and sentimentalizes the simple, good relationship between Querry and Querry's crippled leper servant. And then Querry's relationship with the colon's pretty young wife is falsified in another way that brings the novel to an ironic and violent close.

The events, however, are less important than the conversations about pain and wholeness, self-love and selflessness, belief and disbelief show a changed and milder mood in Greene. Though this does not necessarily make it a better novel, "A Burnt-Out Case" is free from the theological arrogance, the baiting of rationalists, the melodramatic use of attempted bargains with God which gave a peculiar edge and intensity to Greene's earlier religious fiction. Speaking particularly of his "The End of the Affair," Martin Turnell once wrote: "It is impossible not to be struck by the vast place occupied by hate and the tiny place reserved for charity in the work of contemporary Catholic novelists."

In "A Burnt-Out Case" the balance has shifted. Greene no longer tries to make both humanity and Christianity seem as distasteful as possible. There is ample charity both in the sense of good works and of affectionate understanding.

The sympathetic characters are the religiously uncommitted doctor with his special sense of what Christian love means and the priests who are more interested in curing the natives' bodies that in regulating their sexual mores, who would rather talk about the practicalities of being useful than about the state of each other's souls. The unsympathetic characters are the scrupulously self-righteous. The most repellent character is the spiritually and socially ambitious colon who prides himself on his informed Catholicism. He is a former seminarian, a spoiled priest, morbidly preoccupied with the rights, duties and symbolism of Christian marriage.

Though she plays such an important part in the plot, the colon's young wife is rather lightly sketched in, as are some of the other characters. This is not a novel of great intensity of feeling or one much concerned with the violently changing Africa which is its locale. "A Burnt-Out Case" does not have the color or richness or freshness of detail of "Brighton Rock," "The Power and the Glory" and "The Heart of the Matter." In its quietness, its retrospective air, the parabolic quality of its plot, it is more like Camus' "The Fall." The protagonist's tiredness and detachment affect the novel as a whole. And yet, though Greene does not seem to be trying very hard so far as the story-telling is concerned, though he is not practicing to the full the arts of the novelist, he does nevertheless out of his own humanity make this a very appealing novel, wise, gentle and sympathetic.
 
And yet, though Greene does not seem to be trying very hard so far as the story-telling is concerned, though he is not practicing to the full the arts of the novelist, he does nevertheless out of his own humanity make this a very appealing novel, wise, gentle and sympathetic.

tilføjet af InfoQuest | RedigerNY Times, R G Davis (Jul 9, 1961)
 
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'Within limits of normality, every individual loves
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Querry, a world famous architect, is the victim of a terrible attack of indifference- he no longer finds meaning in art of pleasure in life. Arriving anonymously at a Congo leper village, he is diagnosed as the mental equivalent of a 'burnt-out case', a leper who has gone through a stage of mutilation. However, as Querry loses himself in work for the lepers his disease of mind slowly approaches a cure. Then the white community finds out who Querry is...

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