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The Quiet American (Penguin Classics)by Graham Greene
This fabulous novel by one of the 20th century's greatest writers explores issues of guilt, complicity, and redemption in the context of the very early years of America's intervention in Vietnam.
Synopses & Reviews
"After dinner I sat and waited for Pyle in my room over the rue Catinat; he said, 'I'll be with you latest by ten,' and when midnight struck I couldn't stay quiet any longer and went down into the street..."
"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.
"There has been no novel of any political scope about Vietnam since Graham Greene wrote The Quiet American." Harper's
"No serious writer of [the twentieth] century has more thoroughly invaded and shaped the public imagination than Graham Greene." Time
"Written with Greene's great technical skill and imagination." The New York Times
"A continuously intriguing piece of storytelling....Greene has brought into vivid relief...the fearful price of innocence — and has shown that behind innocence there lurk unconscious arrogance and a self-righteous streak of moral blindness." The Atlantic
"The best novel written about the war in Indo-China." Chicago Sun-Times
"A superb accomplishment....[Greene combines] the psychological novel with the novel of violence and suspense, a rare accomplishment for any writer." Saturday Review Syndicate
"Unless I am very much mistaken, The Quiet American is as near a masterpiece as anything else I have ever read in the last twenty years." Daily Express (London)
"Greene at his best. The hand of the master is clearly revealed in the structure of the novel, which rises to a magnificent climax." New Leader
Into the intrigue and violence of Indo-China comes Pyle, a young idealistic American sent to promote democracy. As his native optimism starts to cause bloodshed, his friend Fowler, a cynical foreign correspondent, cannot stand aside and just watch.
About the Author
Graham Greene (19041991) was a prolific novelist, short story writer, travel writer, and children's book writer. Many of his novels and short stories have been successfully adapted to the movie screen, including The Third Man (directed by Carol Reed), The End of The Affair, and The Quiet American.
Robert Stone is the author of seven novels, including Dog Soldiers (1974), Damascus Gate (1998), and Bay of Souls (2003). He has also written short stories, essays, and screenplays, and published a short story collection, Bear and His Daughter, in 1997. Dog Soldiers won a National Book Award in 1975. Stone was born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1937 and was raised in New York City. He served in the U.S. Navy from 19551958. He was for nine years at Yale as the Rosenkranz Writer in Residence.
Table of Contents
Introduction by Robert Stone vii
Suggestions for Further Reading xix
The Quiet American 1
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