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Extended Audio Sample The Comedians Audiobook, by Graham Greene Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,821 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Graham Greene Narrator: Joseph Porter Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2011 ISBN: 9781455170692
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Three men meet on a ship bound for Haiti, where corruption and terror reign under the dictatorship of Papa Doc and the Tontons Macoute, his sinister secret police. Disillusioned and noncommittal, they are the “comedians” of Greene’s title. Brown is a disenchanted English hotel owner; the Smiths are an American couple on a good-will mission; Martha is the young wife of a Latin American diplomat; Jones is an engaging fool. They play their parts, respectable or shady, in the foreground, experiencing love affairs rather than love, enthusiasms but not a faith, and meaningless accidental deaths. Hiding behind their actors’ masks, they hesitate on the edge of life, afraid of love, pain, and fear itself. With alternating comedy, irony, and grim violence, Greene weaves these lives in a pattern of mounting suspense.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “One of Graham Greene’s most chilling and prophetic novels.”

    Amazon.com editorial review

  • “Laughter is possible even in the dark night of Haiti…A vision that is at once comic and intensely serious…A major novel!”

    Roger Sharrock, author of Saints, Sinners and Comedians

  • “Greene’ Comedians is eminently, expertly stylish. It may not be his most important book but a good many attractive adjectives apply.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “One of his best novels…The Haiti of The Comedians is grainy, visceral, forthright, and true.”

    Chicago Tribune

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Steph | 2/13/2014

    " There were a few moments that I felt I had slipped into a version of Candide set in Haiti. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Luis Salas | 2/12/2014

    " I read The Comedians, on the recommendation of my advisor and became an immediate Graham Greene fan. I have since started reading other Greene and am surprised to find that The Comedians pales in comparison to others of his books. All together, though, The Comedians is still clever, pithy, despair-inducing, and well worth the read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris Bennett | 2/7/2014

    " I've finally got around to reading a Graham Greene novel and I must say that he is masterful. He mixed politics, history, and complex characters in this one. Are you a comedian? I know I am. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heather | 2/6/2014

    " This is one of my all time favorite books. My good friend lent me her copy and it has led to my complete trust in her taste in books. This book satiates the traveler, anthropologist and lover of a good read that resides in me. This book is what comes to mind when I think favorite book.m "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Trina | 2/1/2014

    " This short novel is not concerned with spiritual struggle as much of Greene's work. Instead the protagonist, Brown, faces the end of his life as a perpetual expatriot whose ideals, if he indeed ever had any, have been completely shattered by the takeover of Haiti by Papa Doc and the Tonton Macoute. Always lovely writing, with memorable descriptions of Haiti's landscape and climate, some very amusing people, and arresting passages about the nature of life, such as this one voiced by the true sage of the story, the Haitian doctor, Dr. Magiot: "Communism, my friend, is more than Marxism, just as Catholicism is more than the Roman Curia. There is a mystique as well as a politique. Catholics and communists have commited great crimes, but at least they have not stood aside, like an established society, and been indifferent. I would rather have blood on my hands than water like Pilate...if you have abandoned one faith, do not abandon all faith. There is always an alternative to the faith we lose. Or is it the same faith under another mask?" I think I am giving it four stars because I would call it "slighter" than other Greenes I have read, but I loved and admire this book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mark | 1/19/2014

    " I have read many Graham Greene novels and he is one of my favorite authors, but this book did not do much for me. The story is thin and predictable and although the story is set in Haiti, there is actually very little that goes on that seems unique to the island. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Terry Earley | 1/17/2014

    " I read many Graham Greene books. This one, about the Papa Doc era in Haiti was powerful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim | 1/11/2014

    " Contemp British....late 1950s Haiti....small cast of characters during early Papa Doc rule in Haiti. Can always count on Graham Greene to bring you into his world and make it your reality. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Valerie | 1/11/2014

    " Graham Greene is amazing!!!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kiersten | 12/27/2013

    " Not too bad...set in Haiti and the Dominican Republic in the '60s. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Crysta | 11/10/2013

    " Very interesting account of expat life in Haiti during the rise of Papa Doc. I had chills down my spine. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Edward | 5/17/2013

    " One of Graham Greene's best entertainments. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rosie | 4/15/2013

    " Read this is school, its brilliant. such a mixture of emotions and messages. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Richard | 1/8/2013

    " nice exploration of Papa Doc's Haiti- reads like a cross between "the Hotel Rwanda" and the 1953 Bogart film "Beat the Devil". "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jon | 10/14/2012

    " Should be required reading for all diplomats and any other American, Brit, or denizen of the Western world that has ever voiced an ill-informed opinion on foreign policy. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Erin | 6/28/2012

    " My first Graham Greene. Although it was interesting to read about Haitian history, I had difficulty caring for the characters- all of whom were fairly shallow- hence the name? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy | 6/11/2012

    " I had to read this book for one of my many English Lit. classes. I had not heard of Graham Greene before this, but found his writing compelling. Opened my eyes to what was going on in Haiti, too. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John | 5/22/2012

    " Maybe not "The Power and the Glory" but very good. I am afraid if we succeed in doing away with guilt we will do away with good novels, maybe with art. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 4/1/2012

    " I love any book, novel or otherwise, about Haiti under Papa Doc or Baby Doc. I also like the fact that our hero was fallible and not immune to fright. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Colby Bird | 11/21/2011

    " The only thing that kept me going was my fascination with Haiti and the Tons Tons Macoute. The absurd gravity with which the protag speaks drove me nuts. It was like hearing Robert Evans blather on, but without the self-conscious absurdity. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 James Thompson | 10/29/2011

    " One of my favorite books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alwa | 4/27/2011

    " Trying Graham Greene again...maybe this time it'll stick. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sergio | 4/7/2011

    " Dour characters thrown into a dark setting. Only GG can make this work of literature so enjoyable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 aya | 4/6/2011

    " There is a dark, jaded attitude about this book that is somehow incredibly enticing. The depressed and defeated still find hope, seek comfort, and grow to appreciate the endlessly positive and naiive for existing. For doing what they cannot. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sergio | 3/23/2011

    " Dour characters thrown into a dark setting. Only GG can make this work of literature so enjoyable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth | 3/21/2011

    " I found some elements of this book, like the political intrigue and the dated references, confusing. Overall it was a good, interesting read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ted | 2/15/2011

    " Greene's trenchant wit is given full reign here, while the story has
    elements of both the thriller and the mystery genres. Laugh out loud
    in places. One of my literary heroes. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nishant | 1/28/2011

    " Classic Graham Greene... morally ambiguous characters set amidst the horror of 'Papa Doc' Duvalier's Haiti and the murderous Tonton Macoutes... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mattias | 1/13/2011

    " I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Part document of the dictatorship of Papa Doc Duvalier, part study on the masks we put on, the roles we play on the stage of life, part bittersweet love story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tony | 1/3/2011

    " not up to the level of "The Quiet American" or "The Power and the Glory", but still a good read. strengths: greene's skill at revealing plot and commenting on the human condition;
    weaknesses: credibility of plot and dialogue is sometimes questionable "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kat | 11/29/2010

    " Best book I've read about Haiti during the demon reign of Papa Doc. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John | 11/10/2010

    " Maybe not "The Power and the Glory" but very good. I am afraid if we succeed in doing away with guilt we will do away with good novels, maybe with art. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elizabeth | 9/30/2010

    " One very specific version of life in Haiti under Papa Doc. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mae | 9/20/2010

    " I quite liked this book, especially learning about Haiti and Papa Doc. It made me research the country and its history, and was especially poignant in wake of the earthquake. Recommended. "

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About the Author
Author Graham Greene

Graham Greene (1904–1991) was an English novelist, short-story writer, and playwright. He was an ardent convert to Catholicism, and all of his writings reflect his religious views. His novels are set in places in a state of seedy decay, and many of his locations, such as Vietnam in The Quiet American and Cuba in Our Man in Havana, became international crisis spots.

About the Narrator

Joseph Porter studied acting at the Moscow Art Theatre and Depaul University before graduating summa cum laude with a BFA from Wayne State University.