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De stille Amerikaan by Graham Greene
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De stille Amerikaan (original 1955; edition 1978)

by Graham Greene

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,316113827 (3.94)357
Member:Philippe_Nollet
Title:De stille Amerikaan
Authors:Graham Greene
Info:Amsterdam Bakker 1978
Collections:Literatuur, Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:1001 boeken, 20e eeuw, Azië, Brits, Britse literatuur, Klassieker, Koude Oorlog, Kolonialisme, spionage, Fictie, Graham Greene, Historische fictie, Indochina, Literatuur, Roman, Politiek, Vietnam, Vietnamoorlog, Oorlog

Work details

The Quiet American by Graham Greene (1955)

  1. 70
    Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (browner56)
    browner56: Powerful, suspenseful fictional accounts of the intended and unintended consequences of colonial rule
  2. 10
    Doctor Fischer of Geneva, or The Bomb Party by Graham Greene (John_Vaughan)
  3. 10
    The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene (Sandydog1)
    Sandydog1: Equally moving, and I think it shares top honors for Greene's best.
  4. 10
    Getting to Know the General by Graham Greene (John_Vaughan)
  5. 10
    A Burnt-Out Case by Graham Greene (John_Vaughan)
  6. 00
    The Secret Agent: A Simple Tale by Joseph Conrad (thecoroner)
  7. 00
    Zero Hour in Phnom Penh by Christopher G. Moore (JuliaMaria)
    JuliaMaria: Schauplatz beider Romane ist Südostasien. Spannung. Grausamkeit der herrschenden Gewalt.
  8. 01
    Killing Fields by Christopher Hudson (John_Vaughan)
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» See also 357 mentions

English (104)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (112)
Showing 1-5 of 104 (next | show all)
Fowler is a cynical British journalist covering the war in 1950s Indo-China, pre-Vietnam. He somewhat reluctantly befriends Pyle, an idealistic young American Economic Attaché with “special duties.”
“What is he? O.S.S.?”
“The initial letters are not very important. I think now they are different.”

Pyle is obsessed with two things that Fowler objects to: Supporting a “third force” that could change the course of the war; and Fowler’s lover, Phuong.

They are opposites. Fowler embraces neutrality, but loves and somewhat understands the country – or knows what he doesn’t understand. Pyle stumbles around unknowingly and unaware of danger. Fowler deplores the war. Pyle seems impervious to the damage it causes. Fowler is married back in England and wants Phuong for his own selfish reasons while he is in the country. Pyle wants to marry Phuong and take her to America.

This is a complex, almost perfect novel that explores the morality and consequences of war and love. ( )
  Hagelstein | May 25, 2016 |
Next is Graham Greene’s classic novel “The Quiet American”, published in 1955, and written mostly in Saigon during the Vietnamese – Vietming – fight for independence from the French. Its description of the war is vivid, and eerily similar to what Americans described 10-20-30 years later, and its comments on American involvement are eerily predictive. ( )
  theonearmedcrab | May 16, 2016 |
Written like the screenwriter he was, this novel is as vivid and even stronger than the the two movies, by keeping the story telling in Thomas Fowler's control. ( )
  DromJohn | Mar 27, 2016 |
After rereading this for the first time in over 30 years, I was struck by how much of the book is about love. When I read this back in my college days, I focused on the political and social commentary about colonialism and war; ever since, that is how I have thought of this book. But although the political struggle of the Vietminh against the French & Pyle's political ideals play an important part in the book, they are really just the background to the struggle between Fowler & Pyle over Phuong.

I suppose that this struggle between the two men could be interpreted as a metaphor for the struggle between the Old and New World colonial powers over possession of Vietnam/Asia as I thought years ago. But Fowler's desire to have someone who will be with him when he is aging so he won't die alone comes through as a truth hiding the deeper truth that he loves Phuong. Given Greene's other writings & personal background, one interpretation of this situation could be that Fowler wants the comfort of God's presence but isn't willing to commit to the demands of religion. The different women in Fowler's life could be representing different religions. Fowler's musings about how it is ultimately impossible to truly "know" another person no matter how close you are to them fit in with this interpretation.

Of course, these different views on the book reflect more about me - my interests and concerns have changed over the years. The fact that I can take away a very different message from the one I previous got is just one more sign that Graham Greene is an excellent writer! ( )
1 vote leslie.98 | Mar 8, 2016 |
3.5 stars for this audiobook edition, 4.5 stars for the book itself. This review is for the audio only -- see my paperback edition for a review of the book.

I didn't much care for Joseph Porter's narration. He mispronounced a few words (or perhaps it was just the British rather than American pronunciation) -- for example, at one point Pyle discusses the Boston family of the Cabots. Here in Boston, we pronounce that as CABot but Porter pronounced it caBOT. But more annoying that these occasional words was the accent used for Pyle -- I don't know if it was supposed to sound Bostonian but it sounded muddle to this native Massachusetts listener. It sounded as if it was perhaps a nasal Saint Louis type of southern accent? His accent for Fowler was better but even that could have stood some improvement -- there was no sense of emotion in the voice. ( )
  leslie.98 | Mar 8, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 104 (next | show all)
Easily, with long-practiced and even astonishing skill, speaking with the voice of a British reporter who is forced, despite himself, toward political action and commitment, Greene tells a complex but compelling story of intrigue and counter-intrigue, bombing and murder. Into it is mixed the rivalry of two white men for a Vietnamese girl. These elements are all subordinate to the political thesis which they dramatize and which is stated baldly and explicitly throughout the book.
 
There are many natural storytellers in English literature, but what was rare about Greene was the control he wielded over his abundant material. Certainly one can imagine nobody who could better weave the complicated threads of war-torn Indochina into a novel as linear, as thematically compact and as enjoyable as The Quiet American
 

» Add other authors (93 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Greene, Grahamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Caddell, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gorra, MichaelSuggestions for Further Readingsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lundblad, JaneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Magnus, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scheepmaker, H.J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Springer, KätheÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stingl, NikolausÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stone, RobertIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Valja, JiøíTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
This is the patent age of new inventions
For killing bodies, and for saving souls,
All propagated with the best intentions. -- Byron ---
I do not like being moved; for the will is excited, and action
Is a most dangerous thing; I tremble for something factitious,
Some malpractice of heart and illegitimate process;
We're so prone to these things, with our terrible notions of duty. -- A. H. Clough
Dedication
First words
After dinner I sat and waited for Pyle in my room over the rue Catinat; he had said, ‘I’ll be with you at latest by ten,’ and when midnight struck I couldn’t stay quiet any longer and went down into the street.
Quotations
innocence is like a dumb leper who has lost his bell, wandering the world, meaning no harm.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
While the French Army in Indo-China is grappling with the Vietminh, back in Saigon a young and high-minded American named Pyle begins to channel economic aid to a "Third Force."

Caught between French colonialists and the Vietminh, Fowler, the narrator and seasoned foreign correspondent, observes: "I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused." As young Pyle's policies blunder on into bloodshed, the older man finds it impossible to stand aside as an observer. But Fowler's motives for intervening are suspect, both to the police and to himself: for Pyle has robbed him of his Vietnamese mistress.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143039024, Paperback)

"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. This Graham Greene Centennial Edition includes a new introductory essay by Robert Stone.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:35 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

This novel is a study of New World hope and innocence set in an Old World of violence. The scene is Saigon in the violent years when the French were desperately trying to hold their footing in the Far East. The principal characters are a skeptical British journalist, his attractive Vietnamese mistress, and an eager young American sent out by Washington on a mysterious mission.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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