‘A Shocking Accident’ by Graham Greene

This story was read to me at that same boarding school by our Headmaster, Mr Gilbert Wheat. In both my home world and my school world, I had already noticed that appalling tragedy was often greeted with jokes and laughter. These strange emotional distortions made the world difficult to navigate. But in this story Graham Greene seemed to take these contradictions and celebrate them. How could he move so smoothly from laughter to pain? Forty years later, Greene remains one of my favourite writers and I continue to admire his ability to use shifts in tone to devastating effect.  

First published in May We Borrow Your Husband?, The Bodley Head, 1967; Collected in Collected Stories, The Bodley Head, 1973 and now Penguin Classics, 2000

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s