Tamra's Reviews > The Quiet American

The Quiet American by Graham Greene
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's review
Jun 23, 10

it was ok
bookshelves: books-from-collin
Recommended to Tamra by: Collin
Read in June, 2010 , read count: 1

3.5 stars, rounded down. (It deserves 4 stars because it's brilliantly written. Seriously, I wish I could write like Graham Greene. ... But I just can't give it 4. So 3.5 it is.)

It's set in Vietnam, pre-America's involvement. The "First Indochina War" is what Wikipedia calls it (1946 - 1955). France battling for control of Vietnam. I had no idea that this period of Vietnam's history even existed. ... The war stuff isn't graphic, other than the fact that all war discussions are a little graphic (bodies in the ditch. Killing women and children), but he doesn't go into awful detail about it. Enough to remind you that you hate war.

There's also a little Covert Operations action going on, but it's all in the dark. I didn't find this part of the story particularly satisfying.

It's all scenery, though. The main story is Fowler (a cynical, aging English journalist who just so happens to be married to Helen, who refuses to divorce him, on religious grounds) and Pyle (the "quiet" American) fighting over a girl (not Helen). The fact that she's Vietnamese is somewhat important, because there are cultural clashes (which were fascinating, but baffling. I couldn't read the girl AT ALL! and it was frustrating). But mainly she's just an object for these 2 men to fight over. Not cool.

Loved Fowler. Hated Pyle (you're supposed to hate him). Didn't care about Girl. I was sucked into the storyline and wanted to read instead of anything else, while at the same time wanting to throw the book against a wall. It was brilliant.

*update: In a month's time, this book has erased itself from my memory. I am going to have to downgrade it a star.

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