The Human Factor is an understated, viscerally affecting book that manages to show a side of espionage largely ignored by the other giants of the genre. It takes the soft side of spy work and puts it under a microscope. You are given a home, a character, and a family to hang your heart on. Given these things and the conventions of the genre one knows things are not going to go well.
It is less a book and more of a time bomb, the slow demolition of the soul. An alcohol-soaked fog of human life scattered to ruin in the name of ego where gratitude is twisted and maligned to tragedy. It is no easy thing to explore the muddy gray fields of people, politics, and the corruption they inherently feed into each other, but Greene does so with the confidence and care of a master of his craft.
One could go on, but one can only hyperventilate for so long before praise starts to reek of mania. Graham Greene cemented his place in literature decades before I was even born. If you haven’t read him, do. His best novels are brilliant, his worst simply fair. If I could measure even half that degree of quality control I could die happy.
“One can’t reason away regret-it’s a bit like falling in love, falling into regret.” ― Graham Greene, The Human Factor