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The Quiet American Paperback – 7 Oct 2004

4.5 out of 5 stars 90 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics; Centenary Ed edition (7 Oct. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099478390
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099478393
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A master of storytelling" (The Times)

"One of the finest writers of any language" (Washington Post)

"A superb storyteller - he had a talent for depicting local colour, a keen sense of the dramatic, an eye for dialogue, and skill in pacing his prose" (New York Times)

"There has been no novel of any political scope about Vietnam since Graham Greene wrote The Quiet American" (Harper's)

"It might be nearly 60 years since The Quiet American was first published, but it still evokes the exotic promise of the Orient, and the troubled relationship Vietnam has with the West" (Wanderlust)

Review

'A great writer who spoke brilliantly to a whole generation. Prophet-like.' (Alec Guinness)

'A master of storytelling.' (The Times) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Greene's Quiet American is a naive young man who believes in his own inherent goodness and his country's innocence; after all, unlike the French the USA isn't a colonialist power, is it?
So he sets about helping the Vietnamese find a third way between French colonialism and communism. It takes the already jaded Fowler to see that such idealism is not only misplaced, but cannot possibly coexist with the notion that the ends will justify the means.
Writing in the 1950s, as France struggled to hold Indo-China (or leave with dignity) Greene's is a contemporary story. Yet it reads as if the author's already been through the Vietnam War and witnessed the Quiet American's greatest folly.
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Format: Audio Cassette
As a fan of Greene I couldn't wait to pick this book up. I often find this leads to disappointment, but not in this case.
This book embodies Greene's theme of man's blindness, his stumbling through life rather strolling down a chosen path. Fowler, the Foreign correspondent, who wallows through life and the American, Pyle, who is led by his naive allegance to democracy. Pyle's determination to spread the gospel of democracy to Indo-Chine bombards the ordinary Fowler with the extraordinary. In fact this highlights the true realism of Greene's writing and message of the novel: what does a Vietnamese peasant care of politics? His daily struggle is for a bowl of rice whether democratic or communist.
The colonial setting of Indo-Chine is potrayed with ease by Greene, not to mention the imagery.
All in all, this a spectacular read bringing home the absurdity, harshness and reality of the troubles in Vietnam.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent book and well worth the 'Modern Classic' description. Greene writes in a spare, lucid, style and carefully constructs the story of the American sent to Vietnam to create a 'Third Force', essentially to fight the communists. The role of the American is slowly revealed as the story progresses, seen through the eyes of the world-weary, older, English reporter Fowler. The book contains prescient comment on the increasing role of the Americans bent on regime change under the guise of promoting liberal democracy. The book also has frequent references to religion and belief in a God, this subject being important to the Catholic convert Greene who changed faith at the age of 22. This is a gripping story of political intrigue and jealousy over a Vietnamese woman, Phuong, bent on finding a safe haven in England or America. The 2002 film of the same name starring Michael Caine is faithful to the book and captures the atmosphere very well.
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Format: Paperback
Along with Waugh's "Decline & Fall" I read this book every year & never fail to get something new from it. Not one word is out of place, not one scene mis-judged. Greene's characters inhabit a world unfamiliar to all 21st century Western wage-slaves; a world of physical danger, intellectual doubts & moral crises. But yet their paranoias & motives render every one of them as believable as ourselves & make their world as real as our own. The hero of this book in particular fills us with the uncomfortable realisation that even despicable acts born of unashamed selfishness can sometimes not only strike a chord within ourselves, but make us favour the perpetrators of such behaviour over other more innocent players. If you find nothing in this book for you stop reading.
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Format: Paperback
This was my first Graham Greene novel, and it won't be my last. It's one of those cleverly constructed 'circular' novels that, after the initial scene, takes you right back to the beginning of the story which slowly unfolds to end with the same initial scene, but seen in a totally different light.
I picked up this novel because I imagined it to be full of the atmosphere of war-torn Vietnam in the 1950s, a historical portrait of the end of colonial Indo-China. And that is indeed one feature of the book, but it is more involving still: realistic characters, consistent only in their complexity, a moving story of a triangular relationship between two men and a woman, a stand-off between the opposing ideologies of cynicism and idealism. I was left wondering: was this a happy ending or not?
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By A Customer on 24 Nov. 2000
Format: Paperback
For a long while this has been one of my favourite Greene books. The portrait of Saigon (especially)how it used to be under French rule. Having been to Ho Chi Minh City (as Saigon is now called)in recent times, I tried to bridge the forty-odd year gap since Greene wrote this novel, but found it impossible. On my return to London I was lucky enough to see a copy of Saigon Express by John Templeton Smith in an airport bookshop. For those who have loved "The Quiet American", try "Saigon Express". Although not intended to be a sequel to GG's work, it does give an equally stirring account of Vietnam at the end of the 20th century, there's even the occasional nod to GG's "Quiet American".
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By A Customer on 20 April 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Greene's best work and the best book ever on Vietnam's twentieth century wars (French and American). Works beautifully as fiction and also as a tour of the area and the era. I have re-read this book ten or twelve times and still find something new to enjoy and appreciate with each re-reading. As an American veteran of the second war (1968-69) I find this a particularly compelling book.
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