The Seeds of Fiction: Book summary and reviews of The Seeds of Fiction by Bernard Diederich

The Seeds of Fiction

Graham Greene's Adventures in Haiti and Central America 1954-1983

by Bernard Diederich

The Seeds of Fiction by Bernard Diederich X
The Seeds of Fiction by Bernard Diederich
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  • Published in USA  Nov 2012
    300 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

An essential read for fans of literary biography, this book finally and fully illuminates a pivotal episode in Graham Greene's life and career in the kind of detail that will sate any fans of his work, but which also provides a fascinating glimpse into a writer's life. In 1965, Greene joined journalist Bernard Diederich in the Dominican Republic to embark on a tour of its border with Haiti, then ruled by "Papa Doc" Duvalier. They were accompanied by activist priest Jean-Claude Bajeux.

Diederich had known Greene since the mid-1950s and had lived in Haiti for 14 years. He was a seasoned correspondent for the British and North American press and had reported many stories from the region, including Castro's triumph in Cuba and the death of the Dominican dictator, Trujillo. In 1963, he had been thrown out of Haiti and when Greene arrived was working from the Dominican Republic. The famous novelist was 61 and depressed, having struggled to finish A Burnt-Out Case, and was being plagued by religious doubt; Bajeux, meanwhile, had been informed that his family had been "disappeared" by Duvalier's henchmen.

As this trio traveled along the border they met a number of rebels and other characters later fictionalized in Greene's most politically charged novel, The Comedians, published the following year. This book tells the story of how a series of extraordinary and often hair-raising journeys gave one of the greatest novelists of the 20th century new inspiration in his writing.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. In this engaging account of a longstanding literary friendship, former Time correspondent Diederich...delivers a finely crafted reflection on his years traveling with famed novelist Graham Greene." - Publishers Weekly

"One of the finest books yet written on Greene—a triumph of tender recollection and devotion." - The Spectator

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Author Information

Bernard Diederich

Bernard Diederich is a journalist, originally from New Zealand, who launched the English-language weekly newspaper the Haiti Sun in 1950, and subsequently became the resident correspondent for the Associated Press, the New York Times, the Time-Life News Service, and London's Daily Telegraph. In 1963, as a result of his courageous reporting, Diederich was arrested by Papa Doc's Tontons-Makouts, imprisoned, and ultimately expelled from the country. In exile in the Dominican Republic, he was staff foreign correspondent for the Time-Life News service.

Richard Greene is an associate professor at the University of Toronto and the editor of Graham Greene: A Life in Letters. He lives in Cobourg, Ontario. Pico Iyer is an essayist and novelist whose books include The Man Within My Head and The Open Road. He writes for such publications as Harper's, New York Review of Books, and Time.

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