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Quiet American, the (Movie Tie-In)by Graham Greene
One of the first things I learned living abroad is that much of the world places far less value on the idea of "innocence" than Americans do. The cult of innocence is an American ideal. One of the finest, most insightful portrayals of an American innocent abroad is embodied in Arden Pyle, a naïve young CIA operative sent to Vietnam in the fifties. Behind the scenes, Pyle engages in secret machinations to try to establish a puppet regime favorable to US policy. Pyle is a zealous, earnest ideologue and truly naïve, unable to see all the misery caused by his seemingly innocent actions. Ultimately, his ambition undoes him, with the help of a cynical English expatriate named Fowler (good name). Maybe there was a time when the world worked that way.
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Greene's work embodies the demystification of the modern system — a complex and intricate exercise since the novels confront the reality of death in order to express faith in life." Maria Couto in The Time Higher Education Supplement
"The Quiet American by Graham Greene ought to be required reading for anyone planning a visit to Vietnam. For more than forty years, this prophetic portrait of the failing days of French colonial rule has been alternately praised and reviled by critics, but still stands as the definitive, though fictionalized account of the terrible confrontation between moral dissipation and dangerous naiveté that plagued this tropical nation for so many decades." Tom Curry, Literary Traveler
About the Author
Graham Greene was born in England in 1904 and died in 1991 in Switzerland. He studied at the Berkhamsted School, where his father was headmaster, before entering Balliol College, Oxford. In 1926 Greene became a journalist for the Nottingham Journal and converted to Catholicism to be closer to his future wife, Vivien Dayrell-Browning. His first novel, The Man Within, was published three years later. The Quiet American, Our Man in Havana, and Orient Express are among his numerous provocative, exotically suspenseful, and often hilarious explorations of the corruption of the human spirit. Many of his novels have been adapted successfully to the screen.
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