Posted in Short Stories

Graham Greene: Alas, Poor Maling

7♠  7♠  7♠  7♠  7♠  7♠  7♠  7♠

I’ve now read four short stories by Graham Greene and his novel, The Power and the Glory.  I guess when it comes to works of literature, four out of five isn’t too bad.

Graham Greene

As I drew the Seven of Spades this week, I looked forward to another story by Graham Greene, “Alas, Poor Maling”.   But, alas, I didn’t find it anywhere near as appealing as the other Greene works I’ve read.

Maling suffers from a peculiar stomach ailment.  As he hears music throughout the day, his stomach picks it up (records it, if you will) and plays it at inopportune times.  When I say “music”, I mean real music…like the Brandenburg Concerto.  This causes some rather uncomfortable moments at places like the theater.  The story takes place in 1940 London and Maling’s stomach has the audacity to mimic the tone of the air raid siren causing havoc in his business meetings.

How embarrassing.

The only reason I haven’t completely dismissed the story is the dry British wit with which Greene writes.  For a few moments, that was worth a small chuckle; however, mostly, I just scratched my head.

My Deal Me In 2014 list can be seen here.  DMI is sponsored by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.


7 thoughts on “Graham Greene: Alas, Poor Maling

  1. His…stomach? I have quite a problem with earworms, so the set-up strikes me as pretty humorous. I even get bits of classical music stuck in my head. But music recorded and played from his *stomach* seems like such an odd choice.

    1. I tried really hard to find it funny. I could almost see it as a Monty Python routine; however, ultimately I just couldn’t get it. This would not be the story I would recommend if to someone who had never read Graham Greene.

  2. What a strange-sounding story! I have yet to read any Greene, and this story’s post isn’t likely to make me move him up in the batting order. (Baseball reference intentionally for your benefit) 🙂

    1. “A Branch of the Service”, his story about the restaurant critic/ British spy, was brilliant! Great use of dry British wit! This one…mmm…no.

    1. In spite of this story, I would generally recommend Greene. So far, the short stories I’ve read all lean toward the light and entertaining side. “The Power and the Glory” , while entertaining, is also rather serious.

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