England Made Me (novel)

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First edition (publ. Heinemann)

England Made Me or The Shipwrecked is an early novel [1] by Graham Greene. It was first published in 1935, and was republished as The Shipwrecked in 1953.[2]

It is set in Stockholm (which Greene visited in 1933 to prepare for writing the novel[3]) and concerns the travails of ne'er-do-well Anthony Farrant who finds himself working as a bodyguard to a dubious Swedish financier whose character is loosely inspired by Ivar Kreuger. In typical Greene fashion, the seedy antihero wrestles with his conscience as murky moral dilemmas begin to trouble even his disreputable soul.

A strong theme is the questionably close bond between the main protagonist, the always ineffectual Anthony, and his twin sister Kate. Her life as secretary and live-in mistress to the crooked tycoon, Krogh, who is no great lover, absorbs her time and energy but leaves her emotionally unfulfilled. By getting Anthony to Stockholm and on Krogh’s payroll, she is looking for a much closer relationship with her charming, unreliable and totally broke brother. His failure to respond, and the unhappy ending, leaves her in an even worse position as Krogh’s artificial empire threatens to unravel.

The New Statesman, in its review, said that "Greene arouses responses of curiosity and attention comparable to those set up by Malraux, Faulkner and Hemingway" while The Daily Telegraph termed him never less than "wonderfully readable". The New York Times concluded its review by asserting that "Too often the author of England Made Me seems to be shadow-boxing, not delivering the full punch. But the story is skillfully fabricated, and the suspense so well maintained that any one who starts it is certain to go to the end."[4]

It was made into a film in 1973, starring Michael York as Anthony, but the setting was changed to Nazi Germany.[5]