The Ministry of Fear

The Ministry of Fear

Our book group choice for December 2016 is The Ministry of Fear by Graham Greene. For Arthur Rowe, the trip to the charity fête was a joyful step back into adolescence.

It was a chance to forget the nightmare of the Blitz and the aching guilt of having mercifully murdered his sick wife. He was surviving alone, outside the war, until he happened to win a cake at the fête. From that moment, he is ruthlessly hunted by Nazi agents and finds himself the prey of malign and shadowy forces.

Discussion Questions The Ministry of Fear

  1. What did you make of the opening scene? How did it set up the rest of the book?
  2. The emotion of pity plays a central role in the novel. What is Greene saying about how pity affects our decision making?
  3. How does the book’s four-part structure impact character development? Does it work?
  4. Much of the action of the story revolves around Appearance vs Reality. What is Greene saying through this approach?
  5. How does this book compare to other wartime dramas we have read?
  6. Were you satisfied with how the ending resolved?
  7. Is this entire narrative a function of happenstance? How does the consequences of chance factor into the novel?
  8. What role does the War occupy in the book?
  9. To whom would you recommend the book?

Individual Comments

DKB’s Rating: While not one of Greene’s major works, this is deceptively complex with plenty for us to ponder. A lack of rich character depth keeps this from being a top-rate yarn, Greene’s knack for capturing the sights and sounds of wartime London makes this a worthy investment.

DKB's Rating ★★★½☆ 

Anthony Rating ★★☆☆☆ 

Sue's Rating ★★½☆☆ 

Jo's Rating ★★½☆☆ 

EmmaT's Rating ★★☆☆☆ 

Baljit's Rating ★★★½☆ 

Catherine's Rating ★★★½☆ 

Willow's Rating ★★★☆☆