Ways of Escape, Paperback Book
3 out of 5 (1 rating)


With superb skill and feeling, Graham Greene retraces the experiences and encounters of his extraordinary life.

His restlessness is legendary; as if seeking out danger, Greene travelled to Haiti during the nightmare rule of Papa Doc, Vietnam in the last days of the French, Kenya during the Mau Mau rebellion.

With ironic delight he recalls his time in the British Secret Service in Africa, and his brief involvement in Hollywood.

He writes, as only he can, about people and places, about faith, doubt, fear and, not least, the trials and craft of writing.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Autobiography: general
  • ISBN: 9780099282594

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Ways of escape is a sequel to Graham Greene's earlier autobiography A sort of life. In fact, in the preface to Ways of escape, Greene apologizes to readers for overlap between the two works, a fact I would welcome rather than regret, since I read A sort of life more than 20 years ago.I do not recall the style and tone of A sort of life, but what struck me reading Ways of escape is how incredibly impersonal an autobiography it is.There is "very little of life" in this volume, and upon finishing the book, the readers may still wonder as much as before reading it, who Graham Greene is. There are none of the usual musings, descriptions of dwellings, friends and literary influences, which may transport the reader to the (imaginary) world of the past in which to observe the author and his or her development through history.Instead, Ways of escape merely described Greene's travels and how they inspired the conception of his novels. Ways of escape was written as an amalgam of a series of introductions to the Collected Edition of Greene's books and "essays written occasionally on his life and troubled places in the world". In his own words, Greene compares his travels to his writing as "ways of escape," apparently, an escape from life. As this escape from life in the form of extensive travel and writing in itself also constitutes a form of living, one feels the author's regret that what would perhaps have been the most ideal title for this second volume, i.e. A sort of life, is no longer available.As a result, the reader of Ways of escape will feel a sense of detachment. Ways of escape is not really what it purports to be, and readers who are looking for a biography or work of travel had better look elsewhere. Ways of escape would mostly interest readers wanting to read more about the background of Graham Greene's novels and the political conflicts which form the backdrop to many locations forming the setting of his fiction. There is too much hobnobbing with illustrious and often notorious heads of state.

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