A burnt-out case post I

The plan was that as I headed off camping in Dorset I would take a couple of shortish books with me that I could plough through by the end of the week. That plan assumed that firstly, I would have time to read and, secondly I would have the energy and ability to focus in the darkness by torch light.

As a result I am a bit behind with Graham Greene’s A burnt-out case, another book inspired by the theme of heading into a colonial situation to escape/discover something not possible in the normal western world. But in a bid to make sure I keep things going here is the first posting of the book.

Bullet points between pages 5 – 60

* The story starts with a boat trip going on a journey. there is a heavy Catholic atmosphere and a passenger who is a bit of a mystery

* The story then cuts to Dr Colin, a man who has spent 15 years working in a leper colony trying to eradicate the disease

* With the boat coming in the passenger, Querry gets off but leaves a number of questions unanswered, namely who is he? and what does he want to do in a leprosy mission?

* Querry and Dr Colin talk but you don’t get much information out of the exchange. The breakthrough happens when Querry is forced because of floods to stay with Rycker, a palm oil factory manager, who digs out a decade old copy of Time and tells Querry he knows who he is

* The identity of Querry, a world famous architect spreads, but this leads to him making his case for complete indifference plain. It is only as a result of pressure from Dr Colin he agrees to help build a new hospital

* Despite the indifference this first third of the book ends with Querry going into the bush to save his assistant, a mutilated cured sufferer of leprosy, and he admits that he values feeling “needed”

I will post the second third of the book tomorrow with a suspicion that Querry will start to care and that Rycker’s young wife might start to take a shine to him…

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