My Man in Antibes: Getting to Know Graham Greene (Hardcover)
"One of the Year's Best," Times Literary Supplement
When a writer tracks down his literary hero, Graham Greene, who is living quietly on the shores of the Mediterranean, the author finds his new friend is every bit as complex as the fiction he's famous for.
While living in southern France in 1972, Michael Mewshaw engineered a meeting with Graham Greene. Mewshaw was an ambitious young journalist and novelist, Greene was an internationally revered elder statesman of letters. The pair became fast friends and corresponded for the next twenty years. My Man in Antibes is an intimate portrait of what it was like to eat, drink, and gossip with one of the most revered--and complicated--authors of the twentieth century. Growing up Catholic with literary aspirations, Mewshaw believed Greene was the author to emulate. Not only did Greene demonstrate how religious belief and church dogma could be subjects for fiction, he also wrote murder mysteries and political thrillers where his characters' inner conflicts played out dramatically in exotic settings. Under Greene's sway, Mewshaw traveled through Mexico like the whiskey priest in Greene's The Power and the Glory and honeymooned at the Hotel Oloffson in Haiti, the setting of The Comedians. When Mewshaw tracked down Greene in Antibes, he found the author was far from a reclusive, close-mouthed figure: Greene garrulously recounted tales about the many women in his life--and husbands of those women--as well as his extraordinary interviews with political figures such as Fidel Castro and Ho Chi Minh. Over the next two decades, Mewshaw and Greene ate meals together, discussed their travels, and talked about writers they knew in common, such as Anthony Burgess, Shirley Hazzard, and Gore Vidal. While young Mewshaw looked up to the world-weary Greene, their relationship was never simply that of mentor and mentee. My Man in Antibes bristles with misunderstandings, arguments, and one young writer's desire to get to know a legendary older writer who, in many ways, actively sought to remain unknowable.