When friends die, one's own credentials change: one becomes a survivor. Graham Greene has already had biographers, one of whom has served him mightily. Yet I hope that there is room for the remembrance of a friend who knew him - not wisely, perhaps, but fairly well - on an island that was ''not his kind of place,'' but where he came season after season, year after year & where he, too, will be subsumed into the capacious story.'
For millennia the cliffs of Capri have sheltered pleasure-seekers & refugees alike, among them the emperors Augustus & Tiberius, Henry James, Rilke & Lenin, plus hosts of artists, eccentrics & outcasts. Here in the 1960s Graham Greene became friends with Shirley Hazzard & her husband, the writer Francis Steegmuller; their friendship lasted until Greene's death in 1991. In GREENE ON CAPRI, Hazzard uses their ever volatile intimacy as a prism through which to illuminate Greene's mercurial character, his work & talk & the extraordinary literary culture that long thrived on this ravishing, enchanted island.
Shirley Hazzard has worked in Hong Kong, then New Zealand in the High Commissioner's Office. In 1951 she moved to New York where she worked for the UN. She is the recepient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, an American Academy Award and the O. Henry Short Story Award.