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Extended Audio Sample The Heart of the Matter 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 (10,864 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Graham Greene Narrator: Joseph Porter Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2011 ISBN: 9781455170791
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In this widely acclaimed modern classic, Graham Greene delves deep into character to tell the dramatic, suspenseful story of a good man’s conflict between passion and faith.

A police commissioner in a British-governed, war-torn West African state, Scobie is bound by the strictest integrity and sense of duty both for his colonial responsibilities and for his wife, whom he deeply pities but no longer loves. Passed over for a promotion, he is forced to borrow money in order to send his despairing wife away on a holiday. When in her absence he develops a passion for a young widow, the scrupulously honest Catholic finds himself giving way to deceit and dishonor. Enmeshed in love and intrigue, he will betray everything he believes in, with tragic consequences.

The Heart of the Matter is one of Graham Greene’s most enduring and tragic novels.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A superb storyteller with a gift for provoking controversy.”

    New York Times

  • “No serious writer of this century has more thoroughly invaded and shaped the public imagination as did Graham Greene.”

    Time

  • “Greene had the sharpest eyes for trouble, the finest nose for human weaknesses, and was pitilessly honest in his observations...For experience of a whole century he was the man within.”

    Independent

  • “A literary ‘event’…[A] profoundly reverent book.”

    Evelyn Waugh

  • “Greene had wit and grace and character and story and a transcendent universal compassion that places him for all time in the ranks of world literature.”

    John le Carré

  • “Graham Greene was in a class by himself…He will be read and remembered as the ultimate chronicler of twentieth-century man’s consciousness and anxiety.”

    William Golding

  • “Joseph Porter’s gritty-voiced narration gives the story the perfect measure of world-weary angst.”

    Library Journal

  • Winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction
  • One of Modern Library's 100 Best English-Language Novels of the Twentieth Century
  • One of Time Magazine's Best 100 English-Language Novels from 1923–2005

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mike Jaeger | 2/15/2014

    " Incredible language and some really cool philosophical passages along the way. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Liana | 2/9/2014

    " This is one of my favorite books ever. It is deceptively simple, but really is a deep exploration of a man's heart and his struggle to reconcile the limitations on human agency set by his understanding of Catholicism and the real power he observes himself to have on the lives of those around him. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ylanda Hathorne byrd | 2/9/2014

    " I really respect Graham's use of language in this book and his ability to create impressively realistic characters. I feel compelled to let you know that there is an overall sense of morosity, but this read is worth it b/c of the aforementioned characteristics and because of its nuggets that appeal to humanity at large. A new fav-- "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anthony | 2/8/2014

    " Greene displays human emotions very well with few words. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrew Eberle | 2/4/2014

    " Touches upon Greene's usual theme of struggling with faith, and features a main character that I really identified with. (Outside of the ending of his arc) Pity those who can't make themselves happy, for they will never truly find peace. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kristen | 1/31/2014

    " This was my first go at Graham Greene. Some excellent prose, but are all if his characters so whimpering and melodramatic? I found it tedious. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gillian Maguire | 1/27/2014

    " This is possibly my all time favourite novel. I have read it many times, and it always touches me very deeply. The dilemma of the central character is truly awful, because he is at heart a genuinely good man and really wants to do the best for the people closest to him. He makes, what for him is, the ultimate sacrifice, and it truly is heartbreaking to go on this journey with him. A good critique of the dilemma facing the devout Catholic who sins. Don't be put of by the religious element. It is a book about the human condition. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 ingrid | 1/27/2014

    " A classic. Never had read anything by Graham Greene. Set in outpost of a British colony during WW II. Involving an "ordinary" man who works as a policeman, dealing with the locals and corruption, and somehow gets himself involved in a mess. Some interesting philosophical issues....Greene was a Catholic convert and this theme of Catholicism, sin, etc. permeates the book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ashley | 1/23/2014

    " great one-liners. very slow start. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Logan | 1/21/2014

    " Not a bad read, but it's difficult to reconcile the story with such flimsy female characters. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kaeleigh Forsyth | 1/15/2014

    " Boring and racist--a classic fuh-hoor shu-oor. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Geourska | 1/12/2014

    " I was skeptical initially, but ended up quite enjoying this book. Having lived in West Africa for a number of years, it was interesting to compare my impressions to colonial attitudes. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Timothy R. | 1/9/2014

    " Another fantasic epiphany passage. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aileen Urquhart | 1/5/2014

    " Surprisingly I enjoyed this book. I don't usually like Colonial shenanagins. Greene's style made me persist, and I loved the subtle but relentless downfall of Scobie. Being a Catholic perhaps, helped, although I'm not such a tortured one. God is Love. Simples. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gwen | 1/3/2014

    " Greene has the distinction of having the most novels made into movies. I like his clear prose. His subject matter, which is often about the crumbling of Colonial powers, mirrors the flawed Colonial characters stuck in far-flung places amongst cultures they deem to be inferior. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephen Hughes | 1/2/2014

    " Thoroughly depressing but interesting and fast-paced novel based on Greene's own experiences during WWII in Sierra Leone. Many moving scenes, particularly one involving the tragic death of a child. One of Greene's four 'Catholic' novels. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 winona | 12/31/2013

    " Relentlessly Catholic. Also heartbreaking. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mpearsall | 11/16/2013

    " That I loved this book may say more about me than the story, but Graham Greene is always a rewarding read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jacob | 11/6/2013

    " This book pretty much crushed my soul. It's my favorite Greene novel thus far. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mira | 11/2/2013

    " the end did not make me want to read it again,but it was good. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Logan | 9/15/2013

    " Not a bad read, but it's difficult to reconcile the story with such flimsy female characters. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tienlyn | 9/6/2013

    " I think upon looking back on all books that I can truly remember reading, this one had the most traction - meaning the struggles that Scoby goes through are still so clear in my mind although the details are starting to fade. Highly recommended, probably one of my top 10 books ever. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Fraser Coltman | 8/12/2013

    " Greene did a masterful job of creating a character who slides into despair. He is so convincing that the story left me feeling pretty depressed for awhile. Well written, but not a book for a time when you need a "pick-me-up". "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah | 8/3/2013

    " I wept. This doesn't happen very often. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 TurtleneckGirl | 7/4/2013

    " A somber, gorgeously rendered story of a policeman in a West African coastal town during WWII who finds himself in the midst of a serious moral dilemma. Graham Greene is a master prose stylist and there are entire passages of this novel that I am tempted to copy and tape onto the wall above my desk. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pat Hillenmeyer | 5/2/2013

    " British colonial Africa. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laureen | 4/29/2013

    " It can't be a coincidence that "Heart of the Matter" and "Heart of Darkness" share similar titles; both are perfectly written, bleak yet beautiful portrayals of lost characters occupying both physical and emotional space where they don't belong. The last lines nearly made me cry. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marc Alan | 4/21/2013

    " Graham Greene can sure write a line. Every book of his I've read follows the same pattern. It's a solid story that seems to get boring, and then right when I'm about to stop paying attention he'll drop one or two lines that change my life. Loving it. Can't wait for the next one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Renaclerican | 11/27/2012

    " What could have been a great novel. Unfortunately the catholic themes overtook it in the end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 8/27/2012

    " Scobie,a senior policeman, slowly compromises all his ethical and religious values, both professionally and personally. Not a very exciting book but an interesting character study. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kalika | 7/1/2012

    " reread after more than 20 years and loved it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary Blythe | 5/30/2012

    " Graham Greene sets his stories in hot climates with characters who are stuck in their lives. He teases them and the reader with a chance of redemption but without success. There is always a heavy overlay of Catholicism. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ellen | 4/16/2012

    " Grim, unhappy British people! Sex and guilt! Senseless death and pain! What more could you ask for? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Janet | 2/7/2012

    " Outstanding. Why did I wait so long to read Graham Greene? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary Blythe | 11/9/2011

    " Graham Greene sets his stories in hot climates with characters who are stuck in their lives. He teases them and the reader with a chance of redemption but without success. There is always a heavy overlay of Catholicism. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah | 10/31/2011

    " I wept. This doesn't happen very often. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Helen Mccarthy | 10/2/2011

    " A very intense story about a burned out British colonial servant in Africa. Greene is excellent at describing the interior turmoil in his main characters, the husband and also the wife, and how the colonial circumstances destroy a man that was originally a moral person. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jennie | 6/30/2011

    " It was no Quiet American, but I'll give him more chances for sure. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dominic | 6/14/2011

    " My first Grahm Greene book, was not disappointed "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve | 5/25/2011

    " One of Green's Catholic novels, and a pretty good one. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Vinny | 5/13/2011

    " Wonderful book, I don't know of many authors that have as good a flair to mix plot and philosophy as Graham Greene. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rob | 5/5/2011

    " I love Greene. What a sad, lovely, desperate novel. It bites like only love and life can. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anita | 4/28/2011

    " Best quote is..." and for the first time he realized the pain inevitable in any human relationship - pain suffered and pain inflicted. How foolish we were to be afraid of loneliness." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike | 4/24/2011

    "
    Possibly the loneliest novel I have ever read. Graham Greene is amazing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karol | 3/13/2011

    " Masterful writing! I'm swept in from the very first pages. I'm glad to have discovered Graham Greene! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mike | 2/28/2011

    " Ha! Finally actually finished a Graham Greene book. I did like Major Scoby, but the book (like all of Greene's?) is depressing, damp, gloomy and hopeless. What were the British thinking with all the colonization? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wendy | 2/28/2011

    " The characters felt very tragically human - Greene does such a great job getting to the core of people. Plenty of despair to go around. Loved it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amy | 2/23/2011

    " This is the first Graham Greene that I particularly didn't care for. I think it was the overriding religious tones that turned me off from the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 2/17/2011

    " Beautifully written melodrama but utterly joyless - everyone in it needs a good talking to & some happy pills!

    Protagonist is his own worst enemy & the women characters are needy & depressing. Do not read if u like happy endings!
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Phil | 2/2/2011

    " Africa, affairs, boredom, corruption, lies and Catholocism. I freaking love Greene. This book has some awkward semi-colonialism, but the impact of family, rumor, and mistrust in expatriate societies is well-presented. "

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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 religious themes are at the root of much of his writing. He served with the Secret Intelligence Service during the Second World War. 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.