Friday, September 02, 2011

Photography helps people to see.

Beetlemania #1. Bellerive Beach, August 2011.

The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene is essentially a book about unhappiness. Like most of Greene's great novels, it pursues one man's journey through a series of moral dilemmas as the 'righteous' are tested. Oh how they are tested!

The character of Henry Scobie is probably Greene's greatest creations, a British colonial police officer stationed in some backwater West African town during World War Two. A Catholic, Scobie is indeed a righteous man who pays (in spades) for that trait.

Happiness, duty, pity and piety beguile Scobie as he journeys down a path that willingly secures his own eternal damnation (while we watch). Indeed, any tale whereby damnation is assured through and excess of compassion is bound to be an interesting one. To add to the uplifting tone, the book is also about failure: failure to love, failure to be loved, failure to communicate, failure to please, failure to protect; indeed, Scobie's ultimate sacrifice itself ends in failure.

This is a book that kicks you in the shin, offers a hand, then punches you in the face. It then offers you another hand up, helps dust you off and then hits you with a cast iron frying pan. Then it helps you up again only to kick you in the stomach and drop a microwave on your head. The it tells you, "okay enough now" and slowly walks away, only to spin around and give you one last kick in the head.

Crikey it is a magnificent bit of work. Absolutely recommended.

Beetlemania #2. Bellerive Beach, August 2011.