May We Borrow Your Husband?



[PDF] ✍ May We Borrow Your Husband? By Graham Greene – E17streets4all.co.uk Affairs, obsessions, grand passions and tiny ardours are illuminated in this collection of wryly humorous tales of love Whether depicting the innocence and corruption of a honeymoon couple or the fru Affairs, obsessions, grand passions and tiny ardours Borrow Your PDF/EPUB Ã are illuminated in this collection ofwryly humorous tales of love Whether depicting the innocence and corruption of a honeymoon couple or the frustration of missed sexual opportunities, the stories expose a range of human frailties.May We Borrow Your Husband?

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May We Borrow Your Husband? PDF ✓ May We  PDF or
  • Paperback
  • 144 pages
  • May We Borrow Your Husband?
  • Graham Greene
  • English
  • 28 January 2017
  • 9780140185379

10 thoughts on “May We Borrow Your Husband?

  1. says:

    What is cowardice in the young is wisdom in the old, but all the same one can be ashamed of wisdom.

    4.5 stars. This was a necessary return. If I felt younger at present, this collection would've spared me its wrench. Who are my favorites anymore, aside from Dylan? As to authors, my grasp remains firm around Balzac and Grass. Greene speaks to the faded but civilized self that keeps buggering along. These are stories of nostalgia and regret. The hapless find destiny and mumble as it passes them by. Greene made happy if wistful here. I do regard him as a master. There are reckless steps and then a measured glimpse. There's a salty sniff of locale -- most of the stories occur in the south of France, a powerful one in Jamaica.

  2. says:

    How titles deceive us. One would think, judging from the name of this wonderful, whimsical, wickedly witty and unexpectedly warm collection of stories, that they are primarily sexual comedies packed with innuendo and slapstick, the kind that were served in the more burlesque of the films of the 1960s. And then, as one begins from the first page and then arrives at the end of 183 pages, mesmerised, tickled, moved and also outraged in a good way, the reader realises just how mistaken that thought is. For after all, the name of the writer of these tales, alternately melancholic, romantic, absurdly comic and even gently, stirringly erotic, is Greene, Graham Greene.

    And so, while May We Borrow Your Husband represents a significant literary detour for the dexterous, probing, incisive storyteller whose interest has always been, to quote Browning for the umpteenth time, the dangerous edge of things, one also realises that these are stories that carry his unmistakable signature - that same wistful feeling of wanderlust, that same yearning for illicit romance or camaraderie, that peerless penchant for etching memorable women - commanding, honest, naive, spirited, sexually independent and all too real without the slightest stereotypical touch - that rugged compassion for the loners and social outcasts trying to fit in and that same devilish sense of humour that makes these stories so unpredictable with each new turn.

    There are longer pieces that are brilliantly sustained by his measured pace and skill in developing complex motives and orchestrating their equally befuddling actions with conviction and clarity; there are tiny tales that are only a few pages long but ones that make us feel both tickled and also compel us to think about them for long and then there are those other pieces that blend tragedy and farce so seamlessly into each other that they are both brilliant, pitch-perfect comic creations and sad, even melancholic character portraits at the same time. The range of stories, their subjects and the breadth of Greene's humour and wit, are assuredly dazzling to behold.

    It is near impossible to pick out any specific favourites from this volume. But it would suffice to say that everyone of them is special in its own way and every single story offers not only food for thought but also a rollicking gulp of wit intoxicated with drollery. The bigger pieces like the title story and the excellently staged tryst in Jamaica have the brevity and concise clarity of his novels, the smaller pieces, on the other hand, lace their sparkling wit with an equally winsome layer of warmth and somewhere in the mix, there is a romance, a bittersweet one, to steal your heart away.

    Take a bow, Mr. Greene. For reminding us, like the best of them, that short stories can be such wholesome literary delights too.

  3. says:

    Really 2 and a half stars. Although most of the stories were well-written, many had such nasty characters that I really did not enjoy reading them. The only story I truly liked was Cheap in August.

  4. says:

    Damn. Goodreads bugged and now I have to re-write my review. I don't really feel like it, and besides, the inspiration's gone. Anyway, below is the gist of what the original review said:

    A good collection of stories, a quick read, and a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

    Highlights include (read: my favourites of the bunch are):

    - The title story, May We Borrow Your Husband? (which is written very much the way W. Somerset Maugham wrote his short stories; I had to keep reminding myself that it was in fact a Graham Greene story).

    - A Shocking Accident
    - Doctor Crombie
    - The Root Of All Evil

    This collection of stories is included in Penguin Classics' edition of Graham Greene's Complete Short Stories.

  5. says:

    Graham Greene gets a bad rap among those who haven't actually read many of his books, as he tends to be viewed as an author of thrillers--the Robert Ludlum of his day, perhaps. But every time I read one of his books, I re-realize how unfair this is. Sure, he can write a good thriller, but he was also an amazing literary author. May We Borrow Your Husband & Other Comedies of the Sexual Life is a great compilation of short stories about relationships, mostly gone horribly, horribly wrong. Considering the stories were originally copyrighted from the mid-1950s through the mid-1960s, some (like the title story) seem very risque in their thinly veiled depictions of sex, while others, like Two Gentle People, are sweet and melancholy tales that will resonate with anyone who has ever had a passing crush. Others, like Mortmain, are wickedly funny, yet still tragic. Overall, these stories are fairly grim, but well worth a read.

  6. says:

    One call tell a great writer from the short stories. Graham Greene is a great writer and this is a very good collection of stories about human relations. In the opener, Greene introduces us to a very devious fairy couple (interior designers) who seduce a newly wed man from his wife. In the funniest story we can have a glimpse at the very strange goings on among the burgers in a provincial German town. Overall these stories remind me of Roald Dahl's My Uncle Oswald. However, Greene is much more serious than Dahl and the mood of the book is autumnal. The last tale of a fleeting moment between two strangers in Paris is the key story in this book of bittersweet stories about the realization of life's disappointments by an Englishman abroad.

  7. says:

    This book is one of my favorites because it contains the most beautiful love-story I ever read: Two Gentle People. Has many other great stories as well.

  8. says:

    This story collection, published in 1967, when Graham Greene was in his early sixties, is probably his most consistent. 21 STORIES is quite stunning in its range, A SENSE OF REALITY is a bit too steeped in fantasy to highlight Greene's insight into human nature, but MAY WE BORROW YOUR HUSBAND (subtitled & Other Comedies Of The Sexual Life) adheres to a theme Greene had become, in late middle-age, to be quite comfortable with.
    This is one book in which Greene downplays (almost to the point of eliminating) his penchant for cloak-and-dagger. Thirty years earlier, when he was already an established author, he'd consciously put his comedic tendency aside. It pops up in the forties and begins to glide comfortably in the late 1950s, but in the mid-sixties, Greene fell into stride with the times, allowing comedy and, in particular, sexually knowing comedy, to soar. His most overtly comic novel, TRAVELS WITH MY AUNT, followed this collection in 1969. It's a commonplace to say that Britain went Technicolor in 1963 or so, after all the years of Austerity. I must quote Philip Larkin's lines:

    Sexual intercourse began
    In nineteen sixty-three
    (which was rather late for me) -
    Between the end of the Chatterley ban
    And the Beatles' first LP.

    The Swinging Sixties gave us a Graham Greene who would have fit into a Pink Panther movie. The characters in these stories tend to move from hotel to hotel, sharing drinks on patios overlooking grand staircases by the sea. Having read all his novels and two of his other story collections (with one to go, the one published just before he died, THE LAST WORD) I can also say that MAY WE BORROW YOUR HUSBAND is essentially the only book he put out dealing in any detail with the reality of homosexuality. Lesbianism is discussed in a coded way in his early 1930s novel STAMBOUL TRAIN, and, in 1978, Greene allows a paragraph (quite literally) about a Soviet spy whose paymasters provide with male companionship, but nowhere else in his fiction (I have not read his criticism or memoirs yet) does he broach the subject. This is most unusual in a mid-twentieth-century author. I do not mean that Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Norman Mailer or, say, Updike, dealt sympathetically with gay characters or themes, but they made a fair amount of passing references to homosexuality. Greene, I think deliberately avoided it, but not for reasons of prudishness or false machismo. I believe that he had affection for oppressed groups. Since, until about the mid-sixties, almost all mainstream writers professed disapproval of homosexuality, Greene's way around the issue was not to mention it at all. I don't even find sublimated gay themes in his books (with, again, the exception of STAMBOUL TRAIN), and when finally gays and lesbians are featured prominently in Greene's fiction, it is in a collection with a title story dealing with the tension between straights and gays. In the five or six years before the Stonewall riots, movies, books and plays were suddenly treating gays and lesbians as if they were three-dimensional people. This had not been the case in middlebrow works until then. (Proust is highbrow and therefore impervious to popular outrage.)
    I also think that Greene was waiting until his literary skill caught up to his talent for observation before writing these stories. (These stories were all products of the 1960s; it is not a collection of disparate pieces.) It's pretty clear to me Greene was straight (and by all accounts, including his own, highly sexed) but even when he is showing bad people doing bad things and the characters happen to be gay, his is not a voice of condemnation. May We Borrow Your Husband? is one of the most realistic stories I've ever read, evocative though it is of its lush surroundings. Again, Britain had gone Technicolor. These stories are highly visual and almost resemble gaudy postcards. I need to point out that Greene IS the British element here. Most of the stories are set in vacation spots far away from the UK. Greene was also dodging taxes, of course, but almost any successful writers, moviemakers or musicians from Britain at that time moved away. He was not an exception in this.
    Greene converted to Catholicism as a young man and one has to bear in mind that the biblical view of homosexuality was well-known to him. So if he does not seem to condone male homosexuality, it is more that he believes in holding back from temptation and not that he does not understand the temptation. But I am not prepared to say he disapproves of homosexuality. He is nuanced. May We Borrow Your Husband? is pretty dispassionate. Its narrator is rather disapproving, but Greene shows the narrator playing his part in the comedy. In another story Greene is quite sympathetic to a lesbian couple. (This is a sympathy he hadn't shown in STAMBOUL TRAIN, that much earlier work.)
    Greene's great ability with descriptions of landscape is on display here. His world is seen more clearly than almost any other writer's. It is hard to write about walls and lawns and the surf without getting boring. Greene has never bored me when he describes landscape. Almost all other writers do.



  9. says:

    I feel like this represents Greene cutting loose and having some fun, with most of the stories being essentially slightly long-winded jokes. This being Greene though, a lot of the stories are still suffused with a pervading sense of melancholy (most notably in the title story, as well as Cheap in August and Two Gentle People).

  10. says:

    It sounds naïve, but I think Graham Greene really was never as good with the comedic as he was with the bitter and bizarre. The stories in this collection are okay, but in a lot of them o was confused by what tone he was going for- is Dr. Crombie meant as a comic elaboration on the cliche masturbation causes [insert disease of choice], or a glance back at the past when lung cancer was only on the periphery of medical paranoia, or some simple coming-of-age set against a portrait of a fallen man? How much did the shock value of gay and lesbian relationships (predatory ones at that) play into the decision to write May We Borrow Your Husband and Chagrin? AreAwful When You Think Of It?, A Shocking Accident Beauty, and The Invisible Japanese Gentlemen completely set up for their own single, somewhat feeble punchlines? I get that he wrote the majority of these in a single mood of sad hilarity, as he writes in the introduction to Collected Stories, and it's not as if the possible directions that one can sense in any of these stories are bad ideas, but in many cases their weakness is that Greene doesn't fully develop any single of of those directions.

    Also, just another little thing that bothered me is that Greene's characterization of Americans and the U.S. Really do not ring true, and though they're small it feels awkward to read an English man's reflections on the American character. The most baffling is probably in Cheap In August, a story I otherwise like, where Mary Watson complains about American food having tomatoes in every dish, a phenomenon I have neither experienced nor heard of and makes me think he just chose an indigenous American plant for his purpose.

    There are, however, a few good stories that seem confident in what they are. One is The Root of All Evil, a winding tale of pure absurdity, apparently pulled wholesale from a dream. The ridiculous succession of events along with the frame story give it an entertaining folk-tale feel, even though it's never laugh-out-loud funny. Cheap In August is really prototypical Greene, a moving and often uncomfortable story about a woman looking for an affair in Jamaica in the off-season. The final story, Two Gentle People, also deals with chance meetings, and the cowardice and regret that comes with old age, but in a different way - nothing physical or scandalous, just tenderness between two people that never will be realized. And Mortmain is a somewhat sensational, disturbing story about a man, newly married to a young bride, who just can't escape the imagine presence of his previous rebuked mistress.

    Otherwise, this collection seems trivial in comparison with 21 Stories and Greene's great novels. I have yet one more of his short story collections to read, but this hasn't dampened my hopes for that because I do believe this one's weakness is its reliance on the titular theme of comedies of the sexual life which makes it include pieces that fit the bill content wise but wouldn't stand up in a regular collection.

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