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Dr Fischer Of Geneva (Vintage Classics)

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Doctor Fischer despises the human race. When the notorious toothpaste millionaire decides to hold the last of his famous parties - his own deadly version of the Book of Revelations - Greene opens up a powerful vision of the limitless greed of the rich. Black comedy and painful satire combine in a totally compelling novel.


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Doctor Fischer despises the human race. When the notorious toothpaste millionaire decides to hold the last of his famous parties - his own deadly version of the Book of Revelations - Greene opens up a powerful vision of the limitless greed of the rich. Black comedy and painful satire combine in a totally compelling novel.

30 review for Dr Fischer Of Geneva (Vintage Classics)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Warwick

    Any millionaire gets an obituary in Switzerland. This lean, clean novella has a Swiss setting and, for that matter, a Swiss feel as well: the open play of ideas and the streamlined plot reminded of something by Dürrenmatt. Here, though, the themes of redemption and guilt are not related to Switzerland's role in the world, but attach themselves instead to Greene's enduring concern with ecclesiology and metaphysics. When this came out in 1980, Graham Greene was living in the town of Vevey on Lak Any millionaire gets an obituary in Switzerland. This lean, clean novella has a Swiss setting and, for that matter, a Swiss feel as well: the open play of ideas and the streamlined plot reminded of something by Dürrenmatt. Here, though, the themes of redemption and guilt are not related to Switzerland's role in the world, but attach themselves instead to Greene's enduring concern with ecclesiology and metaphysics. When this came out in 1980, Graham Greene was living in the town of Vevey on Lake Geneva (just round the corner from Charlie Chaplin). And Vevey is also the home of the book's narrator, a humble clerk with the unlikely job of in-house translator for a local chocolate factory. This literary Oompa-Loompa meets and falls in love with the daughter of a fabulously wealthy local industrialist, the titular Dr Fischer, who turns out to be a monstrous arriviste, in love with the power that money has brought him and bent on humiliating his obsequious inner circle. At a series of ritually-staged dinners, Fischer tells cruel jokes at the expense of his hangers-on, forces them to eat cold porridge, and develops increasingly sinister ways to punish them for their cupidity. All this is a little too OTT to be taken at face value. The dinner guests are grand-guignol caricatures – a wizened lawyer, a screeching American widow, a stiff Swiss major-general. Characters talk of Dr Fischer variously as God and Satan, while the narrator himself is compared to Christ: this, combined with much earnest discussion of forgiveness and the Matthew Principle (‘Unto every one that hath shall be given’, Matthew 25:29), leaves Greene's underlying interests looking a little naked, his exploration of them a little heavy-handed. It certainly makes things easy for reviewers, the unwary among whom will be tempted into making grandiose disquisitions on the book's ‘themes’. Actually, I suspect that all this allegorical banter will leave most readers fairly cold. What does make a lasting impression is Greene's as it were incidental brilliance – the perfect evocation of the doomed romance with Fischer's daughter, the hyperaware banality that precedes a tragedy, the deft descriptions of daily life, the capturing of a certain cynical melancholy in the narrative voice. All of this makes him an enjoyable and instructive read even when his parables fail to connect.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Daren

    A novella from Graham Greene - always a good way to spend a couple of hours. Set in Switzerland, our main character, Alfred Jones, is a humble clerk for a chocolate company. He meets and marries a young woman, Anna-Luise, and therefore crosses paths with her father, Dr Fischer. Dr Fischer is incredibly wealthy, having invented a popular brand of toothpaste, but is a depiction of disconnected arrogance, and as portrayed by Jones -evil. Dr Fischer and his daughter Anna-Luise have an estranged relat A novella from Graham Greene - always a good way to spend a couple of hours. Set in Switzerland, our main character, Alfred Jones, is a humble clerk for a chocolate company. He meets and marries a young woman, Anna-Luise, and therefore crosses paths with her father, Dr Fischer. Dr Fischer is incredibly wealthy, having invented a popular brand of toothpaste, but is a depiction of disconnected arrogance, and as portrayed by Jones -evil. Dr Fischer and his daughter Anna-Luise have an estranged relationship - he shows no interest in her life, and in return she wants nothing to do with him or his toadies - who she refers to a toads. These people, who he regularly hosts at his ritual dinner parties, faun over Dr Fischer, while he makes scathing jokes at their expense, while offering gifts to satisfy their greed. His research in to greed, he calls it. There are many features to the plot, and this book covers off a lot in its 150 pages, but I would prefer not to offer up spoilers for a relatively fast moving plot. It is probably not a novella to offer deep thought - it is fairly obvious in its plot. However it is a little dark, a little twisted, and a little entertaining. 4 stars.

  3. 4 out of 5

    mark monday

    this is a surprisingly shallow depiction of the banality of evil - a common topic for the author. perhaps the standardized thriller format did not provide Greene enough room in which to grow his intriguing themes, develop more-than-standard characters, or at least create some genuine resonance. alas! the set-up is actually quite interesting (and mordantly amusing); unfortunately, the novel itself lacks that spark of excitement or complexity of plot or depth of characterization that allows it to this is a surprisingly shallow depiction of the banality of evil - a common topic for the author. perhaps the standardized thriller format did not provide Greene enough room in which to grow his intriguing themes, develop more-than-standard characters, or at least create some genuine resonance. alas! the set-up is actually quite interesting (and mordantly amusing); unfortunately, the novel itself lacks that spark of excitement or complexity of plot or depth of characterization that allows it to rise above being much more than a quick page-turner. still, for what it is, enjoyable in its own way.

  4. 4 out of 5

    BrokenTune

    'It’s a bit too late for that, isn’t it?’ ‘It’s never too late to spit at God Almighty. He lasts for ever and ever, amen. And he made us what we are.’ ‘Perhaps he did, but Doctor Fischer didn’t.’ ‘He made me what I am now.’ ‘Oh,’ I said – I was impatient with the little man who had broken my solitude – ‘go up there then and spit. A lot of good may it do you.’ What a book! I can't reveal too much about the plot without giving some of the twists away but this was a meticulous exercise in spunky, dark. 'It’s a bit too late for that, isn’t it?’ ‘It’s never too late to spit at God Almighty. He lasts for ever and ever, amen. And he made us what we are.’ ‘Perhaps he did, but Doctor Fischer didn’t.’ ‘He made me what I am now.’ ‘Oh,’ I said – I was impatient with the little man who had broken my solitude – ‘go up there then and spit. A lot of good may it do you.’ What a book! I can't reveal too much about the plot without giving some of the twists away but this was a meticulous exercise in spunky, dark. twisted, cynicism - and I loved it. If you're not a fan of Greene's dark side, stay way away from this one. In places, the eponymous Dr Fischer and his games actually reminded me of Thomas Harris' Hannibal Lecter character - except without the gore and cannibalism. The end of Dr Fischer reveals their differences in motivations, which was nice to read because it added another dimension to Dr Fischer. ‘It’s just to show the others that he can get you to come. He may try to humiliate you in front of them – it would be like him. Bear it for an hour or two, and, if he goes too far, fling your wine in his face and walk out. Always remember we are free. Free, darling. He can’t hurt you or me. We are too little to be humiliated. It’s like when a man tries to humiliate a waiter – he only humiliates himself.'

  5. 5 out of 5

    Zoeb

    This was another official (official because I keep on rediscovering Greene again and again) Greene re-read this year, alongside "The Captain And The Enemy" and with good reason. 2020 has been an unbelievably unbearable year, as I have said countless number of times already, and all the paranoia and apprehension reached a fever peak of disaster in the month of December, ideally when things should have looked hopeful and cautiously optimistic about the new year. In such desperate times, when the m This was another official (official because I keep on rediscovering Greene again and again) Greene re-read this year, alongside "The Captain And The Enemy" and with good reason. 2020 has been an unbelievably unbearable year, as I have said countless number of times already, and all the paranoia and apprehension reached a fever peak of disaster in the month of December, ideally when things should have looked hopeful and cautiously optimistic about the new year. In such desperate times, when the mind refuses to hope, what does one do, or rather read? Simple. I chose to read a book by my favourite author and once again, things felt a little fine and perhaps the world did not seem so terrible a place to live in. It was also fitting that I reread this, hot on the heels of "A Christmas Carol" - a Christmas parable that urges us, warmly and lovingly, to be good to all and to talk softly and sweetly during this season. I needed, however, a strain of something morbidly dark and yet curiously releasing, something emotionally raw, vulnerable, naked, something that would touch my open wounds with icy fingers and also something that would then apply an ointment of emotional release over them. Something that asks tough questions, reveals terrible truths, punches the reader in the gut and then embraces the same tightly, reassuringly, insisting that life still has meaning, no matter how deranged or perverse it can be. What better than this sad, elegiac, darkly hilarious, uncomfortably plausible, romantic, poignant, heartbreaking, bitter, sorrowful and even electrifying and tense little novel, then? "Doctor Fischer" is a scathing joke, a bitter farce, a roar of pain, a sigh of regret and all these things at the same time. It is not just about greed or how it drives us to even forget our fear and dignity; rather it is also about love and loathing, about the ecstasy of love and the agony of its loss, about the perverse thrill of mockery and humiliation and the disillusionment of triumph. And it ends with one of the most heart-stopping and heartbreaking scenes of Russian Roulette ever written in the history of literature. And all this fascinating depth and profundity, Greene achieves it perfectly, unerringly, in a book far short of the 200 page mark. How about that, Mr. Hemingway?

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bettie

    Description: When the notorious toothpaste millionaire decides to hold his own deadly version of the Book of Revelations, Greene opens up a powerful vision of the limitless greed of the rich; black comedy and painful satire combine in a totally compelling novel. Opening: I think that I used to detest Doctor Fischer more than any other man I have known just as I loved his daughter more than any other woman. This is not to be confused with Dr. Strangelove or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love Description: When the notorious toothpaste millionaire decides to hold his own deadly version of the Book of Revelations, Greene opens up a powerful vision of the limitless greed of the rich; black comedy and painful satire combine in a totally compelling novel. Opening: I think that I used to detest Doctor Fischer more than any other man I have known just as I loved his daughter more than any other woman. This is not to be confused with Dr. Strangelove or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Doctor Fischer of Geneva or The Bomb Party is so at odds with the rest of Greene's ouevre at the outset, yet when his observations of fellow men and their weaknesses are taken into account, not so bizarre. It is an odd tale nevertheless, odd and dark and deeply cynical. Engrossing. 3* The Quiet American 4* The End of the Affair 3* The Power and the Glory 2* The Heart of the Matter 3* Our Man in Havana 4* Brighton Rock 3* The Third Man 4* Travels With My Aunt 4* The Human Factor TR The Comedians 4* The Ministry of Fear 4* A Burnt Out Case 4* The Honorary Consul 4* Monsignor Quixote 3* A Gun for Sale 4* Doctor Fischer of Geneva or The Bomb Party TR Complete Short Stories TR The Confidential Agent 3* The Captain and the Enemy 2* The Man Within

  7. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Ted

    39th book of 2020. This is a short and enjoyable read, quite unlike the other Greene novels I've read, but also, somehow, quite like Greene at the same time. I doubt if one ever ceases to love, but one can cease to be in love as easily as one can outgrow an author one admired as a boy. This is a novel about greed, about the rich, and partly, love and religion. Dr Fischer is an interesting, caricature character, like most of the other 'Toads', as they are referred to as. Our protagonist marries th 39th book of 2020. This is a short and enjoyable read, quite unlike the other Greene novels I've read, but also, somehow, quite like Greene at the same time. I doubt if one ever ceases to love, but one can cease to be in love as easily as one can outgrow an author one admired as a boy. This is a novel about greed, about the rich, and partly, love and religion. Dr Fischer is an interesting, caricature character, like most of the other 'Toads', as they are referred to as. Our protagonist marries the woman he loves, to find that her father is the despicable and 'mad' Dr Fischer, who holds infamous parties, though no one knows what occurs there except the people who are invited. I won't spoil much, but the 'bomb party' is essentially Russian roulette - how that fits into the plot, well, that's not for me to say. I'm a big reader of articles on writers, so I plan to feed all my outside reading into my reviews now with any links I deem interesting - you can care, or not. Anyway, I read that Greene regularly played Russian roulette for a time, which is... astounding - more about that here. All in all, a quick, enjoyable read from Greene, but certainly a 'lesser' work.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Faye

    Read: November 2017 This was a dark little book with an insightful message about greed. The plot follows Jones, a fifty-something man living in Switzerland. Although he is steadily employed, his earnings are fairly meagre. When he marries a much younger, beautiful woman, he becomes aware of her father - Doctor Fischer - and his infamous dinner parties with the Toads; the very wealthy men and women who endure humiliation after humiliation at his hands in order to receive presents of jewels and oth Read: November 2017 This was a dark little book with an insightful message about greed. The plot follows Jones, a fifty-something man living in Switzerland. Although he is steadily employed, his earnings are fairly meagre. When he marries a much younger, beautiful woman, he becomes aware of her father - Doctor Fischer - and his infamous dinner parties with the Toads; the very wealthy men and women who endure humiliation after humiliation at his hands in order to receive presents of jewels and other riches from him at the end of the party. When Jones begins to receive invites to join in at the dinners, he has to choose for himself whether to attend, and why Fischer really wants him there. A dark and twisted, but ultimately entertaining novel. 5/5 stars.

  9. 5 out of 5

    aPriL does feral sometimes

    I'm going against the tide of public opinion and I say this is a silly book. It's not exactly overrated, but I thought it was dumb. That said, it is a definite literary work of value. But it was too juvenile and heavy handed for my taste. "Doctor Fischer" - doctor, a healer, and 'Fischer' (a fisher of men Jesus reference), except he is a bitter upside-down version of Good, full of spite and revulsion, which is not an uncommon intellectual position to have. I feel the book's subject of greed and I'm going against the tide of public opinion and I say this is a silly book. It's not exactly overrated, but I thought it was dumb. That said, it is a definite literary work of value. But it was too juvenile and heavy handed for my taste. "Doctor Fischer" - doctor, a healer, and 'Fischer' (a fisher of men Jesus reference), except he is a bitter upside-down version of Good, full of spite and revulsion, which is not an uncommon intellectual position to have. I feel the book's subject of greed and self-centered regard for one's moral superiority based on how wealthy one is is handled too ham-handedly and it is too clumsily written for seamless reading. The Doctor's success at creating a commercial toothpaste (which prevented rot and destruction, get it?) and made him rich did not satisfy him. His social life horrifies him so he decides to restrict it to providing dinner and breaking bread with the worst sinners (Jesus again); however group humiliation is his goal rather than saving souls for Heaven. He wants to tempt them, which puts him in the role of Satan. Finally, the Doctor has a bomb party where greed might lead to burning fire and eternal death, if people agree to participate. Sigh. The author is hammering us with this morality tale gentle reader! Wearing a helmet is advised.

  10. 4 out of 5

    John

    An unusual story. The plot revolves around Doctor Fischer and his dinner parties. He is wealthy and humiliates his rich guests who are their for his lavish gifts. Greed, evil and how far people are willing to go. Jones an Englishman marries the daughter of Fischer who is estranged from him. The age gap, Jones disability of one arm and his low paying job as a chocolate salesman appeal to the daughter. Her father manipulates people psychologically and Jones gets drawn into the parties. A tragedy o An unusual story. The plot revolves around Doctor Fischer and his dinner parties. He is wealthy and humiliates his rich guests who are their for his lavish gifts. Greed, evil and how far people are willing to go. Jones an Englishman marries the daughter of Fischer who is estranged from him. The age gap, Jones disability of one arm and his low paying job as a chocolate salesman appeal to the daughter. Her father manipulates people psychologically and Jones gets drawn into the parties. A tragedy occurs and the final dinner party tests the guests to the extremity of their greed. The story was good but lacked something. What was the motivation of the Doctor? The love between Jones and the young daughter seemed to me farfetched. I did like the Swiss setting and winter backdrop of the final scenes.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Shane

    This is one of Greene’s shorter novels, written later in his career, that mirror his earlier “entertainments,” but one with a moral dilemma to be resolved. Dr. Fishcher is a self-loathing inventor of a best-selling toothpaste. He lives in seclusion in Geneva and is surrounded by a bunch of toadies, whom he takes the greatest pleasure in humiliating at his famous soirees. He rewards his guests lavishly, feeding their greed for material possessions and then wreaks his hatred on their weakness. Narr This is one of Greene’s shorter novels, written later in his career, that mirror his earlier “entertainments,” but one with a moral dilemma to be resolved. Dr. Fishcher is a self-loathing inventor of a best-selling toothpaste. He lives in seclusion in Geneva and is surrounded by a bunch of toadies, whom he takes the greatest pleasure in humiliating at his famous soirees. He rewards his guests lavishly, feeding their greed for material possessions and then wreaks his hatred on their weakness. Narrated by Jones, the unlikely hero, a maimed translator who marries Dr. Fischer’s daughter, we are introduced to Dr. Fischer’s parties which become increasingly bizarre as they progress towards an inevitable and tragic end. Jones places himself out of reach of Dr. Fischer’s mind games as he holds the love of his younger wife above all material possessions. When she dies in a tragic accident, Jones is heartbroken, becomes suicidal and foils the doctor’s final game, the bomb party, which pits greed against life itself. Greene paints some quirky characters in the Toads as they are called: a drunken film actor, a rich widow, a shady accountant, a former divisionnaire in the Swiss army, an international lawyer – all who are indebted to the doctor for their lifestyle. The doctor himself is a self absorbed, heartless scoundrel who cannot bother to answer the phone even when his only daughter is dying. Greene’s own experiences with Russian Roulette plays out in the climax, in which the guests are faced with the choice of taking a gamble on a rich reward in exchange for putting their lives at risk. Dr. Fischer’s philosophy is that only those who have suffered or lost develop a soul. Well, in that case, we know that the only winner is Jones, for the others all walk away with rich financial rewards, in exchange for humiliation of their character which they do not seem to value anyway. As for Dr. Fischer, yes he too loses, but one wonders if that loss comes too late for any benefit to his soul? And as the doctor says, “Hate isn’t contagious – it does not spread.” Therefore one could argue that Dr. Fischer was his own walking bomb, and with him out of the way his Toads are now free, free of hate, free of greed, free to return to their former lives before they were ensnared by him. A fast-paced and easy read with all the twists and turns that one typically encounters in the murky world of Greeneland.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Smiley

    3.5 stars Like all other Greene novels, this novel has long mystified me till I couldn't find any motive or go on reading it. In fact, I casually found it on display in some bookstores during my college years but its title looked strange, I didn't know why, it was and is a bit long, that is, it is his only one having two titles to choose, say, as you like. Its 17-chapter story explores human greed as planned by the wealthy, enigmatic Dr Fischer whose five honorary guests invited to his dinner par 3.5 stars Like all other Greene novels, this novel has long mystified me till I couldn't find any motive or go on reading it. In fact, I casually found it on display in some bookstores during my college years but its title looked strange, I didn't know why, it was and is a bit long, that is, it is his only one having two titles to choose, say, as you like. Its 17-chapter story explores human greed as planned by the wealthy, enigmatic Dr Fischer whose five honorary guests invited to his dinner parties include Mrs Montgomery, Mr Kips, Monsieur Belmont, Mr Richard Deene and Divisionaire Krueger. His daughter Anna-Luise who hates him for his unkind behavior to her deceased mother has eventually married Mr Jones, a widower in his fifties who works as a translator in a chocolate company. While reading this book, we can find a good thing related to its manageable chapter lengths since in general we would read his novels with unpredictability, in other words, we tend to encounter many lengthy chapters in which we have no choice but keep reading. Therefore, I think we should take heart on this one due to the following information: 1] There are 12 chapters with less than 10 pages (#1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 17), 2] 4 chapters between 10-19 pages (#9, 13, 14, 15), 3] More than 20 pages (#16). I still found some of his uniquely-expressive grammar points invigorating and applicable, for instance: I was very late in getting home and I cut myself shaving and nearly put on the wrong jacket with my only pair of dark trousers. ... (p. 48) 'You've forgotten me. I'm Steiner.' 'Why on earth are you here?' 'I couldn't stand it any more.' 'Stand what?' ... (p. 133) 'He made me what I am now.' 'Oh,' I said - I was impatient with the little man who had broken my solitude - 'go up there and spit. A lot of good may it do you.' ... (p. 134) - etc.- In brief, this novel is all right due to its compact length with unpredictably alternate short and medium chapters, that is, not too short nor to long. We can't help admiring his style of writing and sense of humor related to how to look at things even though they seem to pose imminent danger or life threatened.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Eleanor

    A rather odd little book, though one of Greene's more serious books as opposed to his entertainments. A story of hatred, love, greed and compassion, but somehow it didn't work as well for me as other books by Greene. 2.5 stars. A rather odd little book, though one of Greene's more serious books as opposed to his entertainments. A story of hatred, love, greed and compassion, but somehow it didn't work as well for me as other books by Greene. 2.5 stars.

  14. 5 out of 5

    bobbygw

    While this novella - my early Avon paperback edition reaches 142 pages, while I notice some other editions are @ 120, it's clearly not a novel - is deeply moral, it is also entertaining yet also deeply poignant, and never preachy in tone or sanctimonious. Written from the embittered, disillusioned, disheartened viewpoint of Mr Jones, the man who falls deeply in love with the enigmatic, sad but wonderful Anna-Luise, the only daughter of multi-millionaire, megalomaniac and entirely monstrous Docto While this novella - my early Avon paperback edition reaches 142 pages, while I notice some other editions are @ 120, it's clearly not a novel - is deeply moral, it is also entertaining yet also deeply poignant, and never preachy in tone or sanctimonious. Written from the embittered, disillusioned, disheartened viewpoint of Mr Jones, the man who falls deeply in love with the enigmatic, sad but wonderful Anna-Luise, the only daughter of multi-millionaire, megalomaniac and entirely monstrous Doctor Fischer (rich because of a toothpaste formula), it has an easy, graceful style (as to be expected of Greene), and the tone of a fable (on greed, and questions of integrity and submission). The opening line immediately draws you into what you know will be a compelling tale: "I think that I used to detest Doctor Fischer more than any other man I have known just as I loved his daughter more than any other woman." It's a joy to read, and every single one of the characters is drawn so well and succinctly; one of his last works of fiction - published in 1980, he wrote only a few more thereafter - it reminded me of something Picasso apparently said once in an interview on French TV, when he was in his eighties: the interviewer asked him to draw something - anything - but quickly, without thought. A moment later, Picasso returns the piece of paper, with a wonderful little abstract line drawing. The interviewer looks admiringly, and then asks Picasso does he feel guilty that something he drew in mere moments could sell instantly for a large sum of money. Picasso replies simply, and immediately: not at all, what looks to you like mere seconds, has taken me 80+ years to do. How true. This is a quirky work within Greene's oeuvre, as any devoted Greene fan will tell you (reminiscent in its uniqueness among his works, as The Ordeal of Gilbert Penfold is among Evelyn Waugh's) and rewards you far in excess of the little time it takes to read. Highly recommended.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Boadicea

    Celebrity status singlehandedly skewered

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Too much money. A well of lonliness, despair, greed and soul selling madness. Lethal poison can be a feeling. If you want a hint on what greed is, look it up in a dictionary. If you want to know how it plays humans as if they were puppets, read this book. Don't expect any happy feelings from this one but page turner nonetheless and Greene's mission was well accomplished. Too much money. A well of lonliness, despair, greed and soul selling madness. Lethal poison can be a feeling. If you want a hint on what greed is, look it up in a dictionary. If you want to know how it plays humans as if they were puppets, read this book. Don't expect any happy feelings from this one but page turner nonetheless and Greene's mission was well accomplished.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Laurence

    I see people praising the commentary on greed, evil, love and happiness that is in this book. I detected an attempt indeed, but found nothing beyond that. No depth, no clear message. Or maybe I just don't get it. The unnecessarily near-pedophiliac relationship between the main character and his lover didn't help either. Some passages were quite good still and at least the book wasn't drawn out. I see people praising the commentary on greed, evil, love and happiness that is in this book. I detected an attempt indeed, but found nothing beyond that. No depth, no clear message. Or maybe I just don't get it. The unnecessarily near-pedophiliac relationship between the main character and his lover didn't help either. Some passages were quite good still and at least the book wasn't drawn out.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Trevor

    Great to re-read a Graham Greene novel, but this is definitely one of his minor works. An enjoyable read but not of the high standards other of his books are. Great to re-read a Graham Greene novel, but this is definitely one of his minor works. An enjoyable read but not of the high standards other of his books are.

  19. 4 out of 5

    James MacIntyre

    Because of its short, parabolic nature, this is by the far the most interesting of any Greene I've read (and the only one I've managed to finish, the rest were too irritating.) Because of its short, parabolic nature, this is by the far the most interesting of any Greene I've read (and the only one I've managed to finish, the rest were too irritating.)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Spybrary Podcast Podcast

    Not Greene's finest but a very quick read, enough to take your mind off the pandemic. Not Greene's finest but a very quick read, enough to take your mind off the pandemic.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Benny

    Dr Fischer of Geneva or The Bomb Party must be one of the more intriguing titles in Greene’s catalogue, maybe even in the whole of English literature. It’s the “of Geneva” that does it. It’s not just Dr Fischer we’re talking about, it’s Dr Fischer of Geneva, it’s the Dr Fischer of Geneva…and what on earth is a bomb party? Dr Fischer of Geneva or The Bomb Party is a pitch black parable on the powers of love and loss and the nature of greed. As a novel it is a bit sketchy, over the top and grotesqu Dr Fischer of Geneva or The Bomb Party must be one of the more intriguing titles in Greene’s catalogue, maybe even in the whole of English literature. It’s the “of Geneva” that does it. It’s not just Dr Fischer we’re talking about, it’s Dr Fischer of Geneva, it’s the Dr Fischer of Geneva…and what on earth is a bomb party? Dr Fischer of Geneva or The Bomb Party is a pitch black parable on the powers of love and loss and the nature of greed. As a novel it is a bit sketchy, over the top and grotesque, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t another enjoyable read. This late vintage Greene novella isn’t one of his best, but the maestro never really disappoints. New arrivals in Greeneland are kindly advised not to start here, though.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Howarth

    Very different from Greene's other work. Even a touch of Ballard about it. But very good. Very different from Greene's other work. Even a touch of Ballard about it. But very good.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Narguess Sabetti

    Greene is such an inimitable writer that always brings tears to my eyes... death scene when Jones encounters his dead wife (and all those mind talks) was so impressive.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    4.5 stars. Wonderfully written and very touching.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ahimsa

    It's Graham Greene, so of course it has rare levels of human insight. And it's short enough to read in an hour or two. But the flimsy plot is so contrived that I found it annoying to read. The protagonist constantly did dumb things, just to advance the plot. Not Greene's best work. It's Graham Greene, so of course it has rare levels of human insight. And it's short enough to read in an hour or two. But the flimsy plot is so contrived that I found it annoying to read. The protagonist constantly did dumb things, just to advance the plot. Not Greene's best work.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ronan Doyle

    Just good old page-turning stuff here from Greene, almost daring you not to read it all in one go. In that I gladly failed: this is him in his entertainment mode best, bundling up decadent cruelty and unsheathed verbal wit to intensely enjoyable effect.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Leslie Graff

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Doctor Fischer of Geneva or the Bomb Party – Graham Greene ***Spoiler Alert*** This slim novel is the story of a man working in Switzerland as a translator when he meets and marries a young woman who happens to be the daughter of a rich but possibly sadistic man, Doctor Fischer. Doctor Fischer’s ironic fortune comes from toothpaste that claims to cure the city of the ills of the chocolate factory that employs his son-in-law. He is a hard man who, his daughter believes, killed his wife through his Doctor Fischer of Geneva or the Bomb Party – Graham Greene ***Spoiler Alert*** This slim novel is the story of a man working in Switzerland as a translator when he meets and marries a young woman who happens to be the daughter of a rich but possibly sadistic man, Doctor Fischer. Doctor Fischer’s ironic fortune comes from toothpaste that claims to cure the city of the ills of the chocolate factory that employs his son-in-law. He is a hard man who, his daughter believes, killed his wife through his condemnation of her affair with a man with whom she shared her love of music. Doctor Fischer has now extended his tortuous ways to an odd group of “Toads,” devoted party guests who will be willingly humiliated in exchange for generous presents given at the end of one of his infamous parties. This work reads as a sort of morality tale. On the surface, of course, is the rather obvious tale against greed and the desperate human condition that it will lead us into. The narrator easily condemns his fellow party-goers at his first party as they make themselves sick eating unpleasant food in exchange for whatever prize awaits them. Ironically, they don’t even need the prizes as Doctor Fischer makes it clear that they could all afford the gifts on their own as they are already quite wealthy. Instead, Jones chooses the dignity of his young, beautiful wife and simple life as a translator. The point is clearly made at the end as the Toads go so far as to risk their own life choosing a potential bomb in their desire to get a gift of a check. Then there is the issue of the mother. Certainly Doctor Fischer is greedy himself and refuses to allow her the pleasure of music. When she meets someone who shares her love, a potential love affair begins but it’s never entirely clear if it is consummated. So here we see the Doctor ruining her life and that of her “lover,” out of his own greed for her attention. But what about the dead daughter? What does the death on the ski slope mean? The young couple hasn’t been married long enough to entirely know each other and yet she dies a senseless death that leaves the narrator devastated and desiring his own death. If this is a morality tale, what are the newlyweds being punished for? The redemption of the story, I suppose if there is one, is in the new friendship for Steiner, the punished assumed lover, and the “justice” of Doctor Fischer’s own suicide. So a miserable man who has made many others miserable dies, leaving only two marginally successful but heartbroken men to live on in their memories of the death of the women they loved. All in all, a tragic tale that left me with more questions than answers. Also, I seem to be on a “greed” theme with my reading, see, for example Anita Brookner’s “Dolly,” Kingsley Amis’ “The Green Man,” and the start of the Forsyte Saga. Hope the universe isn’t trying to teach me a lesson with this as I don’t think of myself as terribly greedy!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Sorrels

    I was in the mood to read an oldie, so I picked up a copy of this book and couldn't put it down. The only other Graham Greene book I'm familiar with is - The Quiet American, which I loved as well as the m ovie. Doctor Fischer of Geneva has made me want to read more of Greene's books. I feel as if I've just discovered something new and awesome, even though Greene is an icon who's been around for years. Written in the first person, there is an intimacy with the narrator, a 50ish widower named Jone I was in the mood to read an oldie, so I picked up a copy of this book and couldn't put it down. The only other Graham Greene book I'm familiar with is - The Quiet American, which I loved as well as the m ovie. Doctor Fischer of Geneva has made me want to read more of Greene's books. I feel as if I've just discovered something new and awesome, even though Greene is an icon who's been around for years. Written in the first person, there is an intimacy with the narrator, a 50ish widower named Jones who marries Anna-Luise, the much younger daughter of Dr. Fischer, a wealthy Geneva doctor who made his millions inventing a toothpaste. Dr. Fischer throws parties for a group of wealthy friends his daughter calls the "Toads" - whereby he humiliates and goads them with prizes in order to demonstrate their insatiable greed. Jones is leary of Dr. Fischer, though fascinated in spite of the fact that Anna-Luise warns him to stay away. Dr. Fischer is evil and dangerous. He drove his wife to death and ruined a man who had befriended her. In spite of the warnings, Jones gets pulled into the parties and in the end realizes that Fischer's guests are not only humiliated, but could die in one of his crazy roulette games. There is sadness and loss in the lives of Jones and Anna-Luise, who truly love each other. Jones ends up exactly the same as he was at the beginning of the story...alone, but able to go on because evil has been crushed, and his memories of love are enough to sustain him.

  29. 5 out of 5

    J.R.

    Graham Greene divided his work into two categories he defined as ‘novels’ and ‘entertainments.’ He was also a comic genius, which skill is demonstrated in this short novel and the longer ‘Travels With My Aunt.’ He uses his wit, not merely to entertain, as do some others, but to indict the foibles of mankind. Doctor Fischer is a rich man who delights in humiliating others. The story is narrated by Alfred Jones, a man who has suffered many losses but is given a new chance at happiness when he marrie Graham Greene divided his work into two categories he defined as ‘novels’ and ‘entertainments.’ He was also a comic genius, which skill is demonstrated in this short novel and the longer ‘Travels With My Aunt.’ He uses his wit, not merely to entertain, as do some others, but to indict the foibles of mankind. Doctor Fischer is a rich man who delights in humiliating others. The story is narrated by Alfred Jones, a man who has suffered many losses but is given a new chance at happiness when he marries Fischer’s daughter. The novel is a study of greed and the depths of human nature. Despite its brevity, it is a gripping examination of wealth and poverty, faith, love and death. It was made into a TV movie in 1985 (which I haven’t seen), starring James Mason in his last role.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Brett

    There isn't much of Graham Greene's work that I don't care for and this one was really quite clever. I won't go into the story aside from saying there is the requisite randy old guy young beauty May/December thing (how Greenesque) and the story was a study in greed and how worthless people can become. Ultimately the puppetmaster doesn't win out though. This read ridiculously fast but it was really a straight forward and engrossing story with little side-plot. The only reason I'll quit reading Gr There isn't much of Graham Greene's work that I don't care for and this one was really quite clever. I won't go into the story aside from saying there is the requisite randy old guy young beauty May/December thing (how Greenesque) and the story was a study in greed and how worthless people can become. Ultimately the puppetmaster doesn't win out though. This read ridiculously fast but it was really a straight forward and engrossing story with little side-plot. The only reason I'll quit reading Greene is if I run out of his books.

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