Synopses & Reviews
In this, his twelfth novel, Ward Just penetrates more deeply into America's role in the world than he has ever done before. This beautifully constructed large-canvas novel of Saigon in 1965 can be justly compared to Joseph Conrad's NOSTROMO or Graham Greene's THE QUIET AMERICAN. A DANGEROUS FRIEND is a thrilling narrative roiling with intrigue, mayhem, and betrayal. Here is the story of conscience and its consequences among those for whom Vietnam was neither the right fight nor the wrong fight but the only fight. The exotic tropical surroundings, the coarsening and corrupting effects of a colonial regime, the visionary delusions of the American democratizers, all play their part. In A DANGEROUS FRIEND, a few civilians with bright minds and sunny intentions want to reform Vietnam -- but the Vietnam they see isn't the Vietnam that is. Sydney Parade, a political scientist, has left home and family in an effort to become part of something larger than himself, a foreign-aid operation in Saigon. Even before he arrives, he encounters French and Americans who reveal to him the unsettling depths of a conflict he thought he understood -- and in Saigon, the Vietnamese add yet another dimension. Before long, the rampant missteps and misplaced ideals trap Parade and others in a moral crossfire.
"Spectacular . . . Truly visionary."
"A powerful story beautifully told."
"Emotionally wrenching and always beautifully observant, this is a work in the Graham Greene tradition."
"Spectacular . . . Truly visionary." Boston Globe
"Extraordinary...Mr. Just's novel makes you want to run screaming into the street to protest retrospectively the war he has so movingly recreated." The New York Times
"A powerful story beautifully told." Newsweek
"Its greatness will stand the test of time . . . One hundred years hence, A DANGEROUS FRIEND will remain a beautiful, beautiful book." The San Francisco Chronicle
"Emotionally wrenching and always beautifully observant, this is a work in the Graham Greene tradition." Entertainment Weekly
Ward Just's twelfth novel penetrates deeply into America's role in the world. Set in Indochina in 1965, A DANGEROUS FRIEND tells a story of "the devolution of an innocent American crusading for democracy" (VANITY FAIR), a man living the conflict of so many Americans caught in a political and spiritual crossfire. Sydney Parade, a political scientist, has left home and family in an effort to become part of something larger than himself, a foreign-aid operation in Saigon. Even before he arrives, he encounters people who reveal to him the unsettling depths of a conflict he thought he understood, and in Saigon the Vietnamese add yet another dimension. This "fabulous, tense and dramatic" (LOS ANGELES TIMES) narrative needs neither combat nor bloodshed to tell its tale. A DANGEROUS FRIEND is the beautifully constructed story of civilians who want to reform Vietnam -- but the Vietnam they see isn't the Vietnam that is.
About the Author
Ward Just is the author of fourteen previous novels, including the National book Award finalist Echo House and An Unfinished Season, winner of the Chicago Tribunes Heartland Award. In a career that began as a war correspondent for Newsweek and the Washington Post, Just has lived and written in half a dozen countries, including Britain, France, and Vietnam. His characters often lead public lives as politicians, civil servants, soldiers, artists, and writers. It is the tension between public duty and private conscience that animates much of his fiction, including Forgetfulness. Just and his wife, Sarah Catchpole, divide their time between Marthas Vineyard and Paris.
Table of Contents
The Effort 1
The Family Armand 13
A Child in Such a Milieu 37
Getting Used to It 74
A Shooting in the Market 98
Assimilate or Disperse 118
Big Dumb Blond 140
Plantation Louvet 165
The Life of the Mind 185
Pablo's Hat 208
The Arsenal of Democracy 235