2007: 144. Doctor Fischer of Geneva, or The Bomb Party

“I think that I used to detest Doctor Fischer more than any man I have ever known just as I love his daughter more than any other woman.”

Doctor Fischer of Geneva, or The Bomb Party, Graham Greene

This is late Greene, and minor Greene, but it’s still Greene, which means it’s eminently readable.  It tells the story of Dr. Fischer, a rich Swiss businessman with a streak of sadism, and the terrible parties he throws, in which rich people do his humiliating bidding for the extravagant gifts he gives them.  The narrator is an expatriated Englishman who marries Fischer’s estranged daughter, and, after a brief happiness, comes to loathe his life and even more so, loathe Fischer.

This is a slight novel  - more a novella, really - and a pretty unrelentingly bleak one at that.  Furthermore, when you really stop and think about it, the plot doesn’t make much sense.  Dr. Fischer works as an evil character, but why would the partygoers, who are themselves wealthy, subject themselves to all his nonsense? Greed doesn’t really cover it - it just isn’t credible that people would put up with it.  Perhaps Greene is hinting that Fischer has some sort of other hold on these people, but that didn’t come clearly through the story.  

Still, this is nitpicking.  This book (which is sadly out of print, though easy enough to find on Amazon) is an enjoyable quick read, particularly if you are a Graham Green fan, which I guess I have become. 


Recommended for:   Graham Greene fans; people who loathe Swiss millionaires; people who like stories about how greedy rich people get their comeuppance.


Date/Place Completed: 9/13/07; D.C.

Categories:  Fiction; Commuting Book

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017