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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
4,85792952 (3.94)272
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
    Getting to Know the General by Graham Greene (John_Vaughan)
  3. 10
    A Burnt-Out Case by Graham Greene (John_Vaughan)
  4. 00
    The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene (Sandydog1)
    Sandydog1: Equally moving, and I think it shares top honors for Greene's best.
  5. 00
    Doctor Fischer of Geneva, or The Bomb Party by Graham Greene (John_Vaughan)
  6. 00
    The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad (thecoroner)
  7. 01
    Killing Fields by Christopher Hudson (John_Vaughan)
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» See also 272 mentions

English (84)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (92)
Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
This book is a fairly short read, but I have found myself nonetheless a real big fan of the book. The antagonist, Pyle, is presented in a way that is entirely new to me. Pyle managed to be one of the more despicable characters I've read about, but at the same time was also oddly likable. The way that Pyle's naivety is presented manages to be both astonishing and aggravating, simultaneously.

Overall, I was very pleased with this read and can see myself digging into quite a few more of Greene's work. I feel I should write a lot more about this book, but I think sleep is going to win this fight; another time.

Quotes I liked from this book:
- “I wish sometimes you had a few bad motives, you might understand a little more about human beings.”
- “Thought's a luxury. Do you think the peasant sits and thinks of God and Democracy when he gets inside his mud hut at night?”
- “He was impregnably armored by his good intentions and his ignorance.” ( )
  michplunkett | Jul 14, 2014 |
Graham Greene seems to bring a bit of dislike for Americans and the rise of American power to the table here. He doesn't exactly paint anyone pretty though. We see the decline of French and British class and Imperialism as an underlying factor also, perhaps. This is a powerful novel, very atmospheric, set in Vietnam in the early 50's. I think this story plays out on several levels, several layers, but I'm not going to try and peel the onion skin. I'll leave that to college classes. When the story begins we soon find out that the Quiet American is dead. Then we get the story from when he first arrived. Recommended. ( )
  RBeffa | Jul 11, 2014 |
It's not often I close a book and have absolutely no idea what to put in my review. I thought this novel was pretty close to brilliant, but I feel like - I don't know - there's more to this than I even understand. I know what happened and I could tell you, but as to the deeper intellectual issues, I think it will take me longer to work through. A re-read will be in order in the future, most definitely, but for enjoyment as well as for understanding.

It's a heavy novella. There is a lot going on in the 189 pages. I had no idea what to expect, at all, when I opened it (I do that sometimes, without reading the blurb, it's exciting!) and I guess I'm setting myself up to be surprised that way. I feel like I'm making no sense already.

I feel affected by this book and I can't even explain why. ( )
  crashmyparty | May 14, 2014 |
What I most respect Graham Greene for is his complex views on sexual relationships. There is none of the screaming drama found in modern writing. No one stomps off in a fit of wall punching, or turns to ridiculous mind games. In The Quiet American, the young and idealist Pyle tells the jaded married British Fowler that he is in love with his mistress. They go on to have an adult friendship despite contending for the same woman. It is so refreshing to read. ( )
  juliettehendrikx | Mar 26, 2014 |
I've been reading a bunch of Coetzee lately, and, finally done with that, picked up this one as a palate cleanser. Consider my palate clean: beautiful writing, fabulous and well thought out plot, critical without being preachy, better than the movie. Why don't more people write books like this? Why didn't Graham Greene? (compare the dreck that is 'The Captain and the Enemy,' or 'England Made Me'). I guess it's actually pretty hard to write a good book.
The ending is great, too. It's 'happy,' but in a way which is far more soul-crushingly depressing than any sad ending could ever be. ( )
  stillatim | Dec 29, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 84 (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 (44 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Greene, Grahamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Caddell, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lundblad, JaneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scheepmaker, H.J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Springer, KätheÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stingl, NikolausÜbersetzersecondary 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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:36:40 -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 6 descriptions

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