John's Reviews > The Quiet American

The Quiet American by Graham Greene
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Jan 27, 08

bookshelves: classics
Read in January, 2003

I love Graham Greene -- for his language, for his keen sense of observation, even (perhaps especially) for his tortured Catholicism. I've been rediscovering him ever since we moved overseas a few years back, and, given how many of his protagonists are expatriates trying to make sense of surrounding that they will never fully understand, living overseas is the ideal context in which to read him. The Quiet American, in addition to offering up his usual meditations on social displacement and moral searching, has Greene being quite precient about U.S. naivete as we began our involvement in Vietnam (it was published in the mid-1950s); the novel, which focuses on the relationship between an older, dissolute and cynical British journalist in Vietnam and the younger, true-believing American CIA agent he befriends, is at once a terrific political novel and a great exploration of more universal humanist themes. Possibly my favorite of his books.
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