Apparently Loser Takes All 1955 was written at the same time Graham Greene was writing one of his masterpieces, The Quiet American Greene considered it as one of his lesser works, an entertainment that was written for profit That being said, it is a well written and conceived novella about a hapless couple that decides to get married in Monte Carlo despite financial problems However, there are several compelling themes that he undertakes in the short novel In summation, he arrives at the fact that money doesn t buy happiness and often causes major problems It is a quick and entertaining read, but not a major work Nonetheless, it is a worthwhile read at any rate. Three stars on Goodreads means I liked it, but two stars means it was just OK Well, I liked this lightweight novella by Graham Greene, even though, ultimately, it was just OK So, it gets two stars, even though I liked it Dig where I m coming from here The story covers about two weeks in the topsy turvy early days of the marriage of lower echelon Brit accountant, Mr Bertram, and his young bride, Cary He s 40 and on his second marriage and she s a virginal 25 Their plans for an unremarkable church wedding followed by a Bournemouth honeymoon are turned on end by a twist of fate, and suddenly the couple find themselves sent off to Monte Carlo for a wedding and casino filled holiday, thanks to the machinations of Bertram s eccentric and mysterious boss, Mr Dreuther also known as the GOM, or Grand Old Man, but which could easily also mean GOD Things do not go as planned when Dreuther fails to sail to Monte Carlo in time for the couple s wedding, which precipitates the couple s financial crisis, a growing gambling urge, Bertram s development of a failsafe mathematical way of winning at the tables, and a marital crisis when Cary begins to favor a hungry young man over her increasingly petty and greed obsessed husband But, in the end, domestic happiness and poverty win out.The book starts out rather amusingly Dreuther is like one of those benevolent capitalists straight out of a 1930s screwball comedy movie, and the initial scenes between he and Bertram are funny, but the book doesn t sustain this level of humor and becomes a bit dour when it tries to examine somewhat shallowly the causes of marital strife The moral hardly rises above the money doesn t buy happiness ilk, and in the end Greene seems to plump for boring British marriages. I SUPPOSE the small greenish statue of a man in a wig on a horse is one of the famous statues of the world I said to Cary, Do you see how shiny the right knee is It s been touched so often for luck, like St Peter s foot in Rome She rubbed the knee carefully and tenderly as though she were polishing it Are you superstitious I said Yes I m not I m so superstitious I never walk under ladders I throw salt over my right shoulder I try not to tread on the cracks in pavements Darling, you re marrying the most superstitious woman in the world Lots of people aren t happy We are I m not going to risk a thing There is not much I can say about Loser Takes All other than it is a delightful story of a newlywed couple on honeymoon I have heard Loser Takes All being compared to Coward s Private Lives and just for once I have to admit that this comparison also came to my mind when reading Greene s story However, where wit and humor and sheer slapstick in Private Lives shows a couple or two that is very sure of itself, Greene s approach is different His story is based on a couple who isn t sure of anything at all, and in the course of the book, this uncertainty keeps the story interestingONE adapts oneself to money much easily than to poverty Rousseau might have written that man was born rich and is everywhere impoverished Was GG drying out, or somepun, when he wrote this 54 short story It opens like Private Lives, w married couple arguing on adjoining Monte Carlo hotel balconies, and ends up like a first draft romcom of an unpublished E Phillips Oppenheim. I ve read a number of Graham Greene s novels the past few years and have enjoyed exploring his unique brand of story telling He s become one of my favorite authors Loser Takes All, published originally in 1955, was a neat little gem It would have been perfect as one of those movies you watch on TCM In fact, checking it out I noticed that it was turned into a movie in 1956.Basically, Bertram, an accountant at a firm in London and is about to marry for the 2nd time He and fiance, Cary, will be married and then plan to celebrate their honeymoon in Bournemouth This is turned topsy turvy when his boss, nicknamed gom the Grand Old Man, calls Bertram or Bertrand as he mistakenly calls him up to his office Bertram sorts out a minor accounting problem and during their follow on conversation, he offers instead to have Bertram and Cary a trip to Monte Carlo, a wedding with the Mayor and then a trip on his yacht.GOM, in reality Mr Dreuther, doesn t show up on time, the wedding takes place, and Bertram discovers the joy of gambling at the casino, winning with his system The effect on his marriage is the crux of the story I won t get into any of the plot but suffice it to say that it moves along nicely, and resolves very satisfactorily Greene shows his skill at weaving an interesting, fun story that ultimately leaves you totally satisfied He really can write about anything, dramatic or humorous or heavy or light Check out his work 4 stars
I ve been on a Graham Greene kick and while this one may not be one of his greats it seems to have been dashed off, to be turned into a film it is quite delightful The dialogue reminds me of Noel Coward, and you get wonderful descriptions, deftly sketched as in this brief insight into the main character s boss, a rather laconic figure who possesses a subtle mind He was a prisoner in his room, and small facts of the outer world came to him with the shock of novelty he entertained them as an imprisoned man entertains a mouse or treasures a leaf blown through the bars.Greene s writing, even when he is not giving it his full attention, is better than most of us can muster on the best of days. Even Graham Greene takes a shot at the soulless despair of the late 1950s in this silly love story about a lowly middle aged accountant in a London firm Mr Bertram is about to be married, for the second time, to a young lighthearted girl he met in a restaurant He gets summoned to the big boss office and invited to honeymoon on the man s yacht in the Mediterranean Of course it all goes wrong and Bertram winds up in the casinos of Monte Carlo trying to use his mathematical powers to beat the house and losing his new bride in the process The happy ending reads like a Doris Day romantic comedy of the day In fact there was a movie in 1956 with Greene writing the screenplay I know that Greene wrote what he called entertainments next to his literary novels to pay the bills and usually they are almost as good but this one was too light for me. At just under 125 pages, it s the perfect length for the amount of story Greene has to tell He famously divided his fiction into novels and entertainments This one doesn t even make it into the second category in a dedication he calls it a frivolity Given Greene s religion I was strongly tempted to see the elderly, kind hearted, forgetful, fabulously rich, controller of the main character s life as a figure for God, especially since his only rival is described as small, spotty, undistinguished, and consumed with jealousy But I m probably reading too much into it It s probably nothing than a charming tale of boy finds girl, boy loses girl because of his greed, and boy finds girl again when he reforms.