Let Us Go Up To Jerusalem And Die With Him – The Comedians

On my recent trip to Huntsville, I borrowed the Graham Greene book The Comedians from my parents. I had seen it on several visits before, but I had never picked it up, mainly due to it’s rather garish cover promoting the 1967 film version. This time, more from lack of alternatives than anything else, I started reading it and quickly became hooked.

Set in the Haiti of Papa Doc Duvalier, the main character of the story is a hotel owner who gradually becomes involved in Haitian politics despite his almost desperate cynicism. He and his compatriots are the comedians of the title: those who stand aside when commitment is required. The main theme that indifference is worse than a mistaken zealotry is only finally made clear near the end of the book:

The priest was a young man … He preached a very short sermon on some words of Saint Thomas the Apostle: “Let us go up to Jerusalem and die with him.” He said, “The Church is in the world, it is part of the suffering of the workld, and though, Christ condemned the disciple who struck off the ear of the high priest’s servant, our hearts go out in symphathy to all who are moved to violence by the suffering of others. The Church condemns violence, but it condemns indifference more harshly . … In the days of fear, doubt, and confusion, the simplicity and loyalty of one apostle advocated a political solution. He was wrong, but I would rather be wrong with Saint Thomas than right with the cold and craven. Let us go up to Jerusalem and die with him.”

Here’s the Amazon link.


  1. Vacation Reading | MobKool Blog Said,

    January 2, 2008 @ 3:36 pm

    […] Tenth Man – By Graham Greene. Not as good as The Comedians, but still […]

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    […] For my thoughts on The Comedians, see this post […]

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