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El Americano Impasible
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El Americano Impasible

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  34,722 Ratings  ·  2,201 Reviews
Into the intrigue and violence of Indo-China comes Pyle, a young idealistic American sent to promote democracy through a mysterious “Third Force.” As his naïve optimism starts to cause bloodshed, his friend Fowler, a cynical foreign correspondent, finds it hard to stand aside and watch. But even as he intervenes he wonders why: for the sake of politics, or for love.
Hardcover, 252 pages
Published 1993 by Narrativa Actual (first published December 1955)
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Max No. Lansdale was first stationed in Viet Nam in 1954. The events in the book took place in 1952. When Greene first met Lansdale he had nearly…moreNo. Lansdale was first stationed in Viet Nam in 1954. The events in the book took place in 1952. When Greene first met Lansdale he had nearly completed the book. Also, Greene denied Lansdale was the basis for Alden Pyle. Pyle was based on Leo Hochstetter, public affairs director for America’s Economic Aid Mission. Greene had shared a hotel room with him and they drove back to Saigon together just as Pyle and Fowler do in the book. On the way Hochstetler told Greene of the need for a third force and mentioned General Thế as a good choice. Greene did say that Hochstetter was much savvier than Pyle.(less)
John F a movie only has a limited amount of time to present a story and it's not the book; it can't be. However, the movie is quite good. Best thing is to…morea movie only has a limited amount of time to present a story and it's not the book; it can't be. However, the movie is quite good. Best thing is to read the book and the movie together. I'm talking about the Michael Caine movie.(less)
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Oct 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused.

I assume that everyone for once in own life had to face such a moment that, though convinced about doing the right thing, felt nevertheless poorly and uncomfortably. How is it possible, we asked then, we acted righteously so why such bad feeling, such turbulence in our mind? We did a good choice so why this bile that fills our mouths? Why that need to rationalize our deeds? There was no other way, we say. But really? And th
'I shut my eyes and she was again the same as she used to be: she was the hiss of steam, the clink of a cup, she was a certain hour of the night, and the promise of rest.'

Sometimes a few notable books cause me to start thinking just I turn the last page. So, excuse me for beginning this review with some of my latest ruminations. When I reflect on the meaning of life, although I am not a philosopher I do that sometimes, the fact that we are here for such a short while strikes me as so dismal. I
Jun 09, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, 2013
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
"War and Love -- they have always been compared."

Like The End of the Affair, this is a Greene novel that affects you viscerally. It is a war novel, set in Vietnam. Being so, it is not cheerful or pretty: dead children lying in the street and the like. It hits on the complexities of war; the complexity of morals: how it's impossible to stay neutral forever on such matters when you’re directly involved: you have to make a decision: you must decide, or you're as good as dead.

"'You can rule me out,'
Jan 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the usual suspects
Recommended to Jen by: um. Gary? Ben?
My time on Earth will be brief, very brief, inconsequential really to things like North America's seasonal movements, Earth's orbit, and the galaxy's star patterns. Yet I, and pretty much everyone else with as brief a life as mine, continue the search for meaning and meaningful experience (stupid humans). Are we looking for profundity in the brevity, a way to either surpass our life's span or are we simply trying to forget about its paltry duration? Birthing, dying, birthing, infini ...more
Aug 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The perfect novel.

Ingenious in its pace and tone. The plot unravels in a peculiar, non-linear way, easily enviable by even the most capable of writers. Perhaps because it is more like a meaty novella about star-crossed lovers, hidden intentions, and the war of the classes that it makes it's powerful, jarring punch to the gut.

I LOoooooVE this book. It's incredibly elegant, both prophetic and historic, & very very adult.
I was pleasantly surprised how moving this story was and how strongly I warmed up to the humanity of the main character in the face of his generally detached outlook. Thomas Fowler is in a slump. As a British war correspondent working out of Saigon in French-occupied Vietnam, he gets a daily dose of duplicity and brutality in the world of ongoing guerilla conflict between the Viet Minh communist insurgents and French colonial forces. And then he comes home to play house with his Vietnamese mistr ...more
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: inglese, vietnam
Fu scritto a guerra d’Indocina in corso (e anche a guerra di Corea in atto): quando fu pubblicato, invece, erano entrambe concluse, e i francesi si erano ritirati dal Vietnam dopo la nota battaglia di Dien Bien Phu.
L’innocenza professata dagli americani nel romanzo, sia quelli tranquilli che quelli rumorosi, suona stonata (e Greene ne è consapevole) considerato quello che stava succedendo in quell’altra parte dell’Oriente (estremo).


Storia di un tr
Feb 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sue by: Rebecca, Anne Reach
'What's the good? he'll always be innocent, you can't blame the innocent, they are always guiltless. All you can do is control them or eliminate them. Innocence is a kind of insanity.' (p155) The crux of the story the crux of the entire sad history of nations trying to remake Southeast Asia in a Western image.

As I read The Quiet American, I felt myself sliding down a slippery path to a very messy era I remember all too well. I was 12 in 1960 so I was a teen as the build up of the American turn i
Sep 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Earlier this year I was in Prague visiting a friend of mine. My personal circumstances haven’t been the best for the last twelve months and I had slipped into a state of deep depression without realising it. The purpose of this trip was to get away from everything, to drink a lot and lose myself in that beautiful city. One afternoon my friend and I were in a bar, six drinks deep and thrillingly relaxed. That is, until a group of Americans arrived. They took the table behind us, and began to figh ...more
The Vietnam War is an era that is all too real for me. If you lived through it, you will probably agree that, as a people, we never understood what we were doing, why we were there, or who we were “saving”. The French had already tried to remake Vietnam into a Western style democracy, and had failed entirely. This book takes place just at the passing of the baton--France has not quite given up, and America is beginning to think they have the solution.

That is the scene, but this book, as with all
Mar 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, favorites
On the weekend, I came across a box of books belonging to my late brother. It's well over three years since his passing and I thought I had "unpacked" his belongings that still hold hostage to my garage. This box contained many gems, on the top was sitting The Quiet American. As one does, I started reading the first paragraph. By the next day I had finished it, astonished that I had not gotten to reading the work of my brother's favourite author.

In death, my brother has moved into a sort of hero
Nov 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

--The Quiet American
Jason Koivu
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, crime
Relationships are complicated by human failings. It's one of British author Graham Greene's themes, and it's fair enough and true. And in Green's world a happy ending is, at best, an ambivalent one. This would explain why I have such a hard time enjoying his books.

He was a great writer. His stories often get to the heart of the matter, eventually. The problem is, he wrote so accurately about human behavior as to make his novels quite trying to one's patience. If you're looking for flawed charact
I’ve only read three Graham Greene’s so far, but he definitely seems like a writer whose works I should look into more. Prior to this, I’d read Our Man in Havana and The Power and the Glory. This is a little like a mash up of both. There’s the inept skulduggery of the first, and the searing bleakness and cynicism of the second.

Greene is my kind of guy: He’s got a jaundiced view of people and the world. This novel thrums with moral ambiguity. And reading this now in 2012, some 60 years after it
Dec 11, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a critique of American intervention in foreign affairs, the story was excellent. The "quiet" American (he never shuts up) steps into a world he knows nothing about and creates havoc.

My problem with the book was a problem common to many similar authors (DeLillo, I'm looking at you): it was very male-centric and I got annoyed. Phuong, the love/lust/possession interest in the book, was never given a character, described as innocent, childish, a sexual object, and a caretaker in turn. I realize
Ian "Marvin" Graye
On Recognising the Pattern of the Mosaic

My recollection of first reading “The Quiet American” at school 44 years ago is that it was a work of consummate realism with a moral dimension that revolves around war and what we would now call (state-sponsored) terrorism (it was published in 1955).

What I hadn’t recalled was how Graham Greene so skillfully structured his narrative. The chronology is fragmented, starting more or less at the end, with the assassination of the quiet American, Alden Pyle, a
Very little is written about The First Indochina War, the post-WWII (1946-1954) conflict involving French and French allied forces against native communist insurgencies. It is often overshadowed by the American Vietnam War, the Korean War, and contemporaneous events in Europe. But make no mistake, it was a long, savage, and destructive conflict that foreshadowed much of the American Vietnam experience.

The Quiet American takes place during this often overlooked conflict and is told from the pers
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The End of the Innocents

"'God save us always,' [Tom Fowler] said, 'from the innocent and the good.'" The Quiet American

The essence of Greeneland, if one may dare to try and define it, is the combination of the exotic and the romantic with the sordid and the banal.” Christopher Hitchens, Introduction to Orient Express, by Graham Greene

Another vatic novel by Graham Greene, this time predicting, in 1955, the failures to come from American foreign policy and intervention in Vietnam, intended to sav
Esteban del Mal
Mar 24, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel, fiction, war
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don’t know why Greene divides his books into “entertainments” and “novels”, when the novels are so entertaining. But I guess some are more light weight and only meant to entertain, while this book is packed with ideas. Mixing an absurd spy farce, a cynical “love” story, and prophecy of U.S. involvement in Vietnam which was set and written ten years before the hoi polloi of America could probably find Vietnam on a map. Filled with demented nuggets of Greene thought such as “Innocence is a kind ...more
Aug 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Innocence always calls mutely for protection when we would be so much wiser to guard ourselves against it: innocence is like a dumb leper who has lost his bell, wandering the world, meaning no harm.

The Quiet American is Greene's exploration of relationships and politics against the backdrop of the conflict in Vietnam in the early 1950s.

Thinking about it, this is really an amazing book and shows Greene's ability to observe current affairs - and look behind smokescreens. The "amazing" aspect of t
Sep 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I should have read "The Quiet American" decades ago, in part because I lived through the anti-Vietnam War protests at Berkeley. And even more so, because I worked in Stanford's Hoover Archives with the Lansdale papers. Mostly I regret reading books I "should" read. While I'm ambivalent about Graham Greene himself, his troubling book should have been more widely read, and attentively studied, when it came out in 1955, a clear warning. Greene's narrator Thomas Fowler is treacherously loutish, miso ...more
Aug 12, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The intelligent and the aware
Graham Greene is an artist of sarcasm and loathful protagonists. 'The Quiet American' follows in that tradition, but delves into what that means and turns the whole thing on its head. The main character, Fowler, is as foul as his name implies; swearing, drinking, smoking opium, and cheating on his wife with a nubile young Vietnamese girl. Conversely , we are shown the eponymous 'Quiet American', Pyle, who is quiet in that he is sweet, naive, doesn't drink, doesn't do drugs, doesn't fornicate, i ...more
Olivia "Don't Blame Me I Voted for Hillary"
It was pretty good. I especially liked the surprise ending.
Laura Leaney
Apr 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Julianne Beebe's Book Club
I originally intended to award four stars to this book, which I'd read years ago to impress a professor who quoted Graham Greene at every opportunity, but the thing kept working its way into my brain like an ethical earworm. Without a single character to admire, the book's strength is the nuance of thought and feeling evoked by its narrator, Thomas Fowler, an Englishman whose cynicism is profoundly depressing. Fowler is a man who can say - without absurdity - that "Death was the only absolute va ...more
Grace Tjan
"God save us always...from the innocent and the good."

Alden Pyle, a young American newly arrived in war-torn Vietnam, is a force for good. He’s all for preserving freedom and liberty for the suffering masses of Asia, after all --- so goes the then popular domino theory --- if Vietnam goes red, so will Siam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia. He’s also no fan of the Red’s enemy, the French, who are fighting a losing battle for their Indochinese colony. A ‘Third Force’ that is composed of na
Sep 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a cautionary tale about the involvement of America and Britain in the Vietnam war. Reading this book was a great way to learn more about the Vietnam war.

The two main characters are symbols of the American and British participation in Vietnam. The British does not want to get involved in the war, and he is deluding himself that he is only an indifferent spectator.

Pyle, the American, represents the idealistic principles that the Americas brought in the Vietnam war and the lack of guilt fo
Dec 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-collection
I read this for the second time in Saigon, where we stayed in the Rue Catinet (now Dong Khoi), near the Continental Hotel. Now understanding the history of Vietnam so much better than when I first read it, I can now see what a masterpiece it is, and how sad it is.

Greene was a master of his craft, his characterisations are superb. Some of the scenes (my favourite is his visit to Cholon) are so vividly portrayed that one can feel, hear and smell them.
The narrative is perfectly paced, and Greene u
Book Concierge
Book on CD read by Joseph Porter

Adapted from the book jacket: Green’s experiences as a journalist covering the French war in Indochina provided the material for the story of Fowler, a world-weary British journalist, and Pyle, an idealistic and naïve “quiet American” who blindly applies his academic theories to a political situation he doesn’t quite grasp. The relentless struggle of the Vietminh guerrillas for independence and the futility of the French gestures of resistance become inseparably m
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Henry Graham Greene, OM, CH was an English novelist, short story writer, playwright, screenplay writer, travel writer and critic whose works explore the ambivalent moral and political issues of the modern world. Greene combined serious literary acclaim with wide popularity.

Although Greene objected strongly to being described as a “Catholic novelist” rather than as a “novelist who happened to be Ca
More about Graham Greene...
“Innocence is a kind of insanity” 277 likes
“Time has its revenges, but revenge seems so often sour. Wouldn’t we all do better not trying to understand, accepting the fact that no human being will ever understand another, not a wife with a husband, nor a parent a child? Perhaps that’s why men have invented God – a being capable of understanding. ” 121 likes
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