A “masterful brilliantly constructed novel” of love and chaos in s Vietnam (Zadie Smith, The Guardian). It's and British journalist Thomas Fowler has. The Quiet American by Graham Greene. Read online, or download in secure EPUB format. The Quiet American by Graham Greene; 50 editions; First published in DAISY for print-disabled Download ebook for print-disabled (DAISY).
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Editorial Reviews. From Library Journal. This edition of Greene's novel "of sexual intrigue, Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Use features like Kindle Store · Kindle eBooks · Literature & Fiction. Originally published in and twice adapted to film, The Quiet American remains a terrifiying and prescient portrait of innocence at large. This Graham. The Quiet American is an anti-war novel by English author Graham Greene, first published in the United Kingdom in and in the United States in
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Un Americain bien tranquille , Robert Lafont. The quiet American , Kinseido. The quiet American , Reprint Society. Quiet American June , Amereon Limited. The quiet American Publish date unknown, Heinemann. History Created October 17, 17 revisions Download catalog record: Libraries near you: WorldCat Library. The quiet American , Vintage in English. In terms of Fowler, his affection makes sense.
As previously noted, he is in Vietnam to report on the war between the French and the Viet Mihn communist-nationalist revolutionaries. Fowler, according to himself, steadfastly refuses to take sides, going so far as to say that he has no opinions on what is happening in the country. Can you watch people being killed and not have an opinion?
Can you remain neutral in the face of overwhelming suffering? And neither, ultimately, can Fowler, who is forced to throw off his moral cowardice and act. Perhaps then the only thing one can say with any certainty where war is concerned is that there are no absolutes, no easy answers, it is, and will remain, a messy, horrible, horrifying state of affairs.
Much like love, I guess. Feb 21, David Schaafsma rated it it was amazing Shelves: The colors, the taste, even the rain. Nothing like the filthy rain in London. The smell: You could be forgiven for thinking there was no war; that the gunshots were fireworks; that only pleasure matters. A pipe of opium, or the touch of a girl who might tell you she loves you.
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And then, something happens, as you knew it would. And nothing can ever be the same again. Siam goes. Malaya goes. Indonesia goes. What does 'go' mean? If I believed in your God and another life, I'd bet my future harp against your golden crown that in five hundred years there may be no New York or London, but they'll be growing paddy in these fields, they'll be carrying their produce to market on long poles, wearing their pointed hats.
The small boys will still be sitting on their buffaloes. It has been an article of my creed.
The Quiet American
You will all be involved some day. And still are, in a sense, in making decisions about who on the planet gets protected and fed and who do not. Fowler wants Phuong, Pyle wants her, too; but what does she really want? It kind of reminded me in that respect of another great post-colonialist book by J. Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians, that sees colonialism and sexism as two aspects of the same condition. Jul 19, Jason Koivu rated it really liked it Shelves: Relationships are complicated by human failings.
It's one of British author Graham Greene's themes, and it's fair enough and true. And in Green's world a happy ending is, at best, an ambivalent one. This would explain why I have such a hard time enjoying his books. He was a great writer.
His stories often get to the heart of the matter, eventually. The problem is, he wrote so accurately about human behavior as to make his novels quite trying to one's patience. If you're looking for flawed charact Relationships are complicated by human failings.
If you're looking for flawed characters making bad choices for psychologically sound reasons, at least in their own minds, well then you've come to the right shop. I believe it was called the First Indochina War, and it stretched from the mid '40s to the mid '50s. This book reads like a news article forecasting a coming war, for it focuses on an American militant outlier's involvement in a conflict well before the U.
The story follows a British journalist covering the war, who meets a seemingly naive and mysterious American with idealized notions of what's best of the native population, and who swoops in and steals the Brit's bit of foreign good-time fluff. The American's off-the-cuff charm, the Brit's loveless love, and the aloofness of Vietnamese love interest that finishes of the love triangle, all three of these principle participants are mostly in it for themselves, for their own motives, but they are neither good nor bad people.
They are just people. The military conflict mirrors the human relationship, and the same questions can be asked of both situations: I mean, yeah I gave this 4 stars it would be a 3. However, it's just never thoroughly enjoyable. There's always a certain "gloom" about his work.
It's often slow, too, though it never grinds to a complete halt.
However, I will continue reading Greene, because it deserves to be read. Mar 07, Alex rated it it was amazing Shelves: On the weekend, I came across a box of books belonging to my late brother. It's well over three years since his passing and I thought I had "unpacked" his belongings that still hold hostage to my garage.
This box contained many gems, on the top was sitting The Quiet American. As one does, I started reading the first paragraph. By the next day I had finished it, astonished that I had not gotten to reading the work of my brother's favourite author.
In death, my brother has moved into a sort of hero On the weekend, I came across a box of books belonging to my late brother.
In death, my brother has moved into a sort of heroic realm for me: He forged a great and interesting life, not afraid to take risks in search of finding his place. We had had many literary discussions over the year, a shared love of John Steinbeck and Peter Carey always at the fore. This is such a brilliant tale of love, jealousy, politics, war and innocence that it is hard to think such weighty themes can be given such scrutiny within a tiny pages. Greene published this book set in Vietnam during the build up to what became the Vietnam war in which in itself is eery in that the ideas expressed about America's role in South East Asia was proven to be true as the 60s and 70s came.
Thomas Fowler is a cynical, world weary British journalist stationed in Vietnam, reporting the basics of what was occurring based on the "favourable" press conferences held by the French Imperialist forces. In the sweat and grime of Saigon, he has escaped a loveless marriage in the UK and fallen in love if he is capable of such an emotion with a 20 year old Vietnamese dancer, Phuong. Into his life comes the seemingly benignly idealistic "Quiet American", Alden Pyle.
Much younger than Fowler, both his youthful self confidence and his slavish adherence to a new US socio-political policy involving the eradication of Communism threatens the life Fowler has made for himself.
Something has to give. Greene expertly crafts his story by alternating chapters: The story moves along at a cracking pace, with opportunities for the characters to interact in such a way that macro political ideas are expressed in a personal way. This is particularly shown in the conversations between Fowler and the French policeman, Fowler and the French pilot as well as between Fowler and Pyle.
Brilliant and moving, I can see why my brother was a devotee of Greene's.
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These now demand to be read - I'm getting to know my brother again: View all 4 comments. Introduction --The Quiet American. View 1 comment. The chronology is fragmented, starting more or less at the end, with the assassination of the quiet American, Alden Pyle, a dispenser of foreign aid at the U. Legation in Saigon in the last days of French colonial rule By the time the plot returns full circle or cycle, given the prominence of bicycles to this event at the end of the novel, we have learned more about how it occurred and who was responsible, at least morally.
Graham Greene re-assembled the fragments into a mosaic-like structure. They happen to be rivals for the affection of a young Vietnamese woman, Phuong with whom Fowler is living when the two men meet. Pyle wins, at least initially.
After all, Fowler acknowledges that: Sooner or later one has to take sides. Despite the innocuous work he seems to be doing distributing sewing machines to the Vietnamese , it turns out that Pyle works for O. He gets hold of an idea and then alters every situation to fit the idea They are the satin gloves that disguise the iron fist of American aggression, even before the commencement of the Vietnamese War.
The Ugly American was somebody different, a term popularised by the novel of the same name. Certainly, Fowler retrospectively comes to regret his treatment of Pyle, even if there is nobody to whom he can say he is sorry. In the end, Fowler must live with his guilt Even this happy ending comes at a cost. Highway to Hell - that was worthy of a Pulitzer. Stephen Crane could describe a war without seeing one. Get me another drink. I want a piece of tail too.
Jul 09, Whitaker rated it really liked it Shelves: This is a little like a mash up of both. Greene is my kind of guy: This novel thrums with moral ambiguity. And reading this now in , some 60 years after it was written, the ambiguity is even more trenchant.
We know now that the US went on to fight a war in Vietnam, a war that it would lose rather painfully. We know also that Vietnam fell to the communists. The fragments of peace in this novel look all the more illusory and endangered from this end of time.
Poor Alden. That poor child never stood a chance, although it was frightening to see how quickly his innocence turned into meaningless platitudes. And it relates to far more than just the international political imperatives at play. It goes from the global macro level to the personal micro one too. Our man Fowler looks like a hero no? Albeit a slightly soiled one. But what are we to make of him and his relationship with Phoang? She points out that he had said exactly the same thing about her too.
And about the woman he first left her for. When, she asks, will his promise of forever to Phoang turn to ashes like it did for the other women? What, she asks, will it leave Phoang with, abandoned in cold gloomy England far from home? And we might ask, does he even care that, much older than Phoang, he will inevitably leave her alone and, by then, no longer so pretty as to attract another protector? And Phoang? Greene never lets us into her head.
Thankfully, I actually think. The musings of an Occidental male on the thoughts of an Oriental female would only have been a grotesque form of colonialist sexist drag. Nevertheless, we see enough to make us question what love or emotions she has invested in this relationship. As Fowler himself points out, she is looking more for security than she is for romantic love. Just who provides it matters substantially less. So, knowing what we know now, how do we weigh up the moral choices made by the characters here?
Would it have been better if Alden Pyle had not died? And what of Fowler and Phoang? To stay on in Vietnam to see it fall and be killed by the communists?
To leave to England where they will both, it is strongly suggested, be completely miserable? Greene asks where our moral choices leave us, and it seems his answer is that whatever path we take, they all lead to damnation. Aw, man, Graham, you're my kind of guy. View all 9 comments. While I did enjoyed the book, I was expecting more.
But make no mistake, it was a long, savage, and destructive conflict that foreshadowed much of the American Vietnam experience. The Quiet American takes place during this often overlooked conflict and is told from the pers Very little is written about The First Indochina War , the post-WWII conflict involving French and French allied forces against native communist insurgencies.
The Quiet American takes place during this often overlooked conflict and is told from the perspective of Thomas Fowler, a middle age English correspondent who has been in Vietnam for several years when the events of the book take place. It tells the story of his experience with a naive and eager American, Alden Pyle the eponymous Quiet American.
The two could not me more dissimilar. Where Fowler is old and world weary Pyle is young and ambitious; where Fowler is jaded by what he has seen, Pyle is full of optimistic energy by what he has read in books; where Fowler sees how things are, Pyle sees how things could be; where Fowler is disillusioned with religion and -isms Pyle is pious and a True Believer in Democracy and Freedom.
They see the same world but perceive it in radically different ways. In some circumstances this isn't necessarily a bad thing. But this isn't 's New York, it is early 's Vietnam, and there's a worldwide crusade against communism to be fought.
On top of that Pyle falls for Fowler's much, much younger Vietnamese girlfriend his ever suffering wife lives in England and vows, in an absurdly civil manner, to win her and take her for his wife. Oh, and Pyle is totally an American intelligent Agent dispatched to persecute said anti-Communist crusade.
So while on the surface this is a story of two men and a woman in a nation at war, it serves as a much larger observation about the state of world affairs. Post-WWII was a time of change. Europe was on the decline, having exhausted itself with war and attempting to maintain crumbling colonial empires. America was on the rise, bolstered by an absurd optimism that their way was THE way forward for human progress and freedom.
Fowler and Pyle represent these two powers. Fowler, like Europe, has been in country much longer than Pyle. He understands how Vietnamese culture works, what drives them, and what they are struggling with. But he lacks the energy or motivation to really get involved in the conflict. He has a fondness for the people of Vietnam, but knows that their priorities and motivations are unique to themselves and not universalized.
He has few future prospects and merely strives for comfort through his aging years. Pyle, on the other hand, is young, full of energy and direction. However he is woefully misinformed about the country.
What knowledge he does have comes from an academic writing about the country after spending a very short time there. His mind is full of high ideas of what the Vietnamese people need and how to achieve it.
He doesn't bother to actually ask the people what they want, merely assuming it is the same thing that Americans want freedom and liberty. Heck, he doesn't even speak the language of the people he is trying to save and if that is emblematic of an intervening American, I don't know what is.
Between them is Phuong, Fowler's girlfriend. He is by no means in love with her he even doubts if he can love again , but is both fond of her and fears growing old alone. He provides material comfort for her and she provides companionship for him.
It may not be a storybook relationship, but it seems to work for them, for the time being. Pyle, on the other hand, is instantly smitten with her and vows marry her lack of a common language aside. He puts her on a pedestal and ignores her qualities that would detract form this ideal version of her he has like that she once worked in a "Dancing Hall'.
He expects her to emigrate to America with him, join the local women's clubs, and generally behave like an American wife. Fowler warns him that Phoung does not conceptualize marriage and love the same way he does, that she wants support and comfort and that Pyle is projecting his own American ideals onto her. It is pretty messy all around and neither man seems to treat Phuong as the person she is. In fact, given the limited viewpoint of this story Fowler's we don't even get to see Phoung as a total person.
We know she has a life away from both men, but Fowler seems only interested in how she can make him feel better and Pyle sees only an idealized Phoung that doesn't exist. Once again we can see parallels between European and American views of third world countries during this time period. What is interesting, however, is that for all the potential conflict between Pyle and Fowler, they actually remain on good or at least amicable terms with each other. Pyle is too courteous to truly get angry at Fowler and Fowler is somehow enchanted by Pyle's extreme innocence and Fowler tries to protect it to the degree he can.
That was my first instinct - to protect him. Innocence always calls mutely for protection, when we would be much wiser to guard ourselves against it; innocence is like a dumb leper who has lost his bell, wandering the world, meaning no harm.
It is by no means an easy decision and the entire books sets up a very fascinating moral dilemma for Fowler. I greatly enjoyed this read. It had challenging characters, prescient themes this was published in , and a very accessible writing style. It got a little slow in the middle but is a great, if quick, read about an often overlooked time and place. Even someone with no knowledge of Vietnam or international politics can still appreciate this story for its very human element.
On a side note: This book was made into a movie twice. The first remake later in the 's completely altered the story, making Pyle out to be an innocent American caught in Fowler's evil machinations because he romanced Phoung played by an Italian actress, because Hollywood.
Sufficed to say, Greene was very unhappy with how his anti-war story was completely bastardized and turned into a "propaganda film for America" Dec 11, Karen rated it liked it.
As a critique of American intervention in foreign affairs, the story was excellent. The "quiet" American he never shuts up steps into a world he knows nothing about and creates havoc. My problem with the book was a problem common to many similar authors DeLillo, I'm looking at you: I realize As a critique of American intervention in foreign affairs, the story was excellent. I realize the character was supposed to be symbolic of the country--both men, American and British, wanted to possess her, without understanding her.
But it's hard to read a book where women aren't allowed to be women--full fleshed, intelligent and capable of self determination. Here, I was doing acrobatics to make the story palatable. It reminded me of reading Lolita.
During both books, it was an interesting character study of the people watching the women, if you considered it from the woman's perspective. I still felt slimy reading it. I get that the sliminess is the point, but ew. It makes me grateful for books like "Regeneration" which make important points, but with all the characters fully drawn.
It's my new favorite book this year. In any case, I'm glad I read it. The writing is beautiful and it tells an important story. View all 7 comments. Instead of condemning Greene's novel as anti-American, American political leaders should have heeded it as an expergefactor for their simplistic world and moral view and plan to put a "Third Force" in charge of Vietnam in answer to its "quagmire. Thomas Fowler, the novel's fascinating narrator, is a something British journalist who has covered the French war in Vietnam for a couple of years.
Fowler is jaded, unscrupulous and lily-livered, stationed in Saigon. Pyle is a soft-spoken, intellectual, naive Ivy Leaguer whose gullibility about solutions to the witches' brew boiling in Vietnam comes from scholarly books written by theoreticians uninitiated in the world and ways of Vietnam. As Fowler puts it, Pyle belongs to " a psychological world of great simplicity, where you talked of Democracy and Honor without the 'u'. Pyle sees Fowler as using Phuong and taking her for granted.
Pyle thinks Phuong needs love and protection, and declares his love for her to Fowler before courting and convincing her to move in with him. In one of many ironies in this extraordinary novel, Pyle sees Phuong as being delicate victim being manipulated by Fowler, not considering that she, like other Vietnamese, was simply a survivor playing one side against the other. Alden Pyle, " impregnably armored by his good intentions and his ignorance ," attempts to grease the wheels for the "Third Force" to save Vietnam from itself, leading to a disastrous explosion in Saigon.
The narrative begins with Fowler discussing with a police detective the murder of Pyle, and in that way it is somewhat of a mystery how Pyle died, at whose hands, and why. As always, Greene's novel is packed with commanding characterization and exquisite ironies, and told with the economy of a writer confident in his mastery of language.
Sep 19, Rachel rated it really liked it Shelves: The novel's larger conflict is centered on the French and American invasion of Vietnam, which is echoed microcosmically in the conflict that arises between Fowler and Pyle when they both fall in love with the same Vietnamese woman, Phuong.
I loved Greene's writing, which was sparse but filled with sharp observations and imag Set during the First Indochina War, The Quiet American is narrated by the cynical British journalist Thomas Fowler, who meets the young idealistic American agent Alden Pyle.
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