For those of you who may have read Graham Greeene’s intriguing novel The Comedians, you will remember that Mr. Brown owned the Oloffson Hotel in Port-au-Prince. Here it is along with the infamous swimming pool.
In February, I wrote about my collaborators, those robust writers with whom I meet at oh-dark-thirty every Monday for two hours to share our respective musings. One has at least two, 1,000-word pieces ready to include in her anthology. I can’t wait to announce it. The other is moving forward at a reckless pace on a complex and dark story that is fearless in its approach to contemporary issues that many of us are inclined to ignore except in the privacy of our electronic readers. I am indebted to both whose wordsmithing I listen to with envy of Gollum!
With my collaborators’ encouragement, I have been forging ahead – dare I say at a feverish pace – on two manuscripts, one historical, the other quirky. For the next two weeks, however, I will tilt my pen in a different direction.
One week from today, I will return to Haiti, that dark and mysterious Caribbean Isle, once home to the infamous Papa Doc Duvalier, the island which lays claim to voodoo.
You can follow my journey on our sister site, The Vitruvian Man.
Forty-five years ago, I traveled to Haiti to experience first-hand what I wrote in a paper I submitted as a senior in college, The Influence of Voodoo on the Political System of Haiti. Last year, I was drawn back to Haiti by my friends at The Sanneh Foundation. When I told my friend Tod Herskovitz that I would be pleased to go back, he recommended that I read Graham Greene’s novel The Comedians. I took Tod at his word and am finishing the final chapters before I depart for Port-au-Prince on Palm Sunday.
I enjoy the novel immensely, and as I read it, I recall my own experience in Haiti in 1971, not long after Greene constructs his novel. I offer The Comedians today as a novel that can help any writer with ‘dialogue.’ One of my collaborators is currently reading Cormac McCarthy’s classic Blood Meridian. McCarthy paints with descriptive prose. Greene paints no less effectively in The Comedians with dialogue.
If you are a writer looking for direction on constructing and developing dialogue, I encourage you to read The Comedians by Graham Greene.