Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Quiet American by Graham Greene

I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused," Graham Greene's narrator Fowler remarks of Alden Pyle, the eponymous "Quiet American" of what is perhaps the most controversial novel of his career. Pyle is the brash young idealist sent out by Washington on a mysterious mission to Saigon, where the French Army struggles against the Vietminh guerrillas. As young Pyle's well-intentioned policies blunder into bloodshed, Fowler, a seasoned and cynical British reporter, finds it impossible to stand safely aside as an observer. But Fowler's motives for intervening are suspect, both to the police and himself, for Pyle has stolen Fowler's beautiful Vietnamese mistress. Originally published in 1956 and twice adapted to film, The Quiet American remains a terrifiying and prescient portrait of innocence at large. (from Goodreads)

Flo's Review
Okay, here is the interesting thing about this book. For a good 85 to 90 percent of it, I wasn't that into it. This book is half political and half love story, and the political parts just did not intrigue me. (Though I did enjoy Fowler's depictions of Saigon and the rest of the country.) There is sort of a love triangle, but the difference here is that I didn't like either of the men! 

But then the ending happened. And I was mad. And I'm still mad! And I finished the book hours ago. So I applaud Graham Greene for that. I thought I didn't care, but apparently I do, since I'm still fuming!! Sadly, I can't tell you what I'm mad about because it will spoil the whole thing for you. But I can say that I am very very very disappointed in one of the characters and upset about the ending because of it. 

This book does bring up all kinds of questions about what is right. For a person. For a group of people. For a war. Greene is also a great writer -- I really enjoyed as I said before, his descriptions and also his analogies. I can see why this book has stood the test of time.  

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