Never too Late to Read Classics discussion

35 views
Archive 2018 Group Reads > 2018 August The Quiet American

Comments Showing 1-20 of 20 (20 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new)

Rosemarie | 8253 comments Mod
The Quiet American by Graham Greene is this month's poll winner.


message 2: by Lesle, Appalachain Bibliophile (new)

Lesle | 5587 comments Mod
The Quiet American is a 1955 novel by English author Graham Greene which depicts French colonialism in Vietnam being uprooted by the Americans during the 1950s. The novel implicitly questions the foundations of growing American involvement in Vietnam in the 1950s and is unique in its exploration of the subject topic through the links among its three main characters – Fowler, Pyle and Phuong. The novel has received much attention due to its prediction of the outcome of the Vietnam War and subsequent American foreign policy since the 1950s. Graham Greene portrays a U.S. official named Pyle as so blinded by American exceptionalism that he cannot see the calamities he brings upon the Vietnamese.


message 3: by Rachana (last edited Aug 01, 2018 10:04AM) (new)

Rachana | 41 comments I started reading The Quiet American this evening and finished first twenty-seven pages during which the very quiet American, Pyle, aged thirty two and employed in the Economic Aid Mission is found murdered. His body being discovered by the Vietnamese police under some bridge is at the moment lying in the mortuary. His friend or an acquaintance of him, a journalist Mr. Fowler and a native Vietnamese girl Phuong appears to be someone whom Pyle intended to marry, are summoned by the police for interrogation and identification of the body. Later that night away from their home countries in that unfamiliar land the character of Fowler seems sad for Pyle. He wondered if he was the only one there who cared for Pyle and his tragic fate.
Now the story will proceed in an earlier time, in the flashback of sorts when both the characters Pyle and Fowler came across each other for the first time.
This is the one spontaneous, speedy read. I love reading Graham Greene and it's a refreshing change as my other simultaneous books are a little on the heavier side.
Happy reading to all.


message 4: by Tracey (new)

Tracey (traceyrb) | 728 comments I have my copy on hold at the library and will begin this week.


message 5: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new)

Rosemarie | 8253 comments Mod
I will be joining this discussion as well.


message 6: by Piyangie, Classical Princess (new)

Piyangie | 986 comments Mod
I will be able to get around this by mid month hopefully. I've not read Graham Greene before, so looking forward to it.


message 7: by Lesle, Appalachain Bibliophile (new)

Lesle | 5587 comments Mod
I had to order a book so....


L (Daytime Dreamer, Nighttime Reader) | 0 comments I just checked this out from the library.


message 9: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new)

Rosemarie | 8253 comments Mod
I have finished five chapters and am enjoying the Greene's style. The book is set in Vietnam while the French were still there. The main character is a British journalist. During a conversation with another character, we learn that most journalists are focussing on Korea. I knew the French had difficulties in Vietnam, but I had no idea that they were fighting a war there while the world was watching the conflict in Korea.


message 10: by Rachana (new)

Rachana | 41 comments Rosemarie wrote: "I have finished five chapters and am enjoying the Greene's style. The book is set in Vietnam while the French were still there. The main character is a British journalist. During a conversation wit..."

I am happy that you are enjoying the Greene's style of writing, Rosemarie. You made a very good point about the French fighting a war in Vietnam. While we here too are aware about the conflicts surrounding Korea and both the East and West Germany in the past, Vietnam only came to my knowledge much later, exactly what was happening there while reading the true accounts of some journalists in the Reader's Digest, captured by the rebels there and later rescued by the forces.


message 11: by Brian (new)

Brian Reynolds | 3772 comments Rosemarie wrote: "I have finished five chapters and am enjoying the Greene's style..."

My favorite story about his style is that in 1949, when the New Statesman magazine ran a contest for best parody of Greene's style, Greene submitted an entry under a pseudonym and won second place.

I like his style, which is why I've read 20 of his novels, my second most read author after the prolific P.G. Wodehouse (if I don't count the Franklin W. Dixon moniker). I confess, though, that I don't recollect some books enough to distinguish, for example, The Confidential Agent from The Honorary Consul from The Captain and the Enemy.
I do like how Goodreads tracks your most-read authors.


message 12: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new)

Rosemarie | 8253 comments Mod
I have finished two parts and this book seems to be more about the narrator, Thomas, than about Pyle, the American.
Greene is good at creating the atmosphere of the time.


message 13: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new)

Rosemarie | 8253 comments Mod
Part 3 is very dramatic.


message 14: by Inese (new)

Inese Okonova | 69 comments Ok, I'm in. And judging from the first pages it will be a quick read.


message 15: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new)

Rosemarie | 8253 comments Mod
That's great, Inese. And it is a quick read, but with a lot that stays with you after you finish it.


message 16: by Inese (new)

Inese Okonova | 69 comments A great book. I think this is a masterpiece which has not lost its importance at all. Both male characters are very believable and detailed. As to Phuong I do not think this is a book about her. I believe her story would be quite different. And I like that Greene has not tried to tell what she thinks. I do not think he could have succeeded. She is a character we see only from both men's point of view.
I found out that the book was very quickly translated and published in Soviet Latvia in 1957. But I chose to read in English. I suspect that some details depicting communists and their way of warfare could have been censored in translation. I can not tell for sure though.
Once again I am thankful to group's choice for discovering something new.


message 17: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new)

Rosemarie | 8253 comments Mod
I am glad you enjoyed it, Inese. It is a little book that makes you think, and I do enjoy his writing style too.


message 18: by Tony (last edited Aug 29, 2018 03:00PM) (new)

Tony | 101 comments I'm glad as well that you enjoyed it Inese as I really like this novel - I read it last year and it is my favourite Graham Greene so far.

My favourite quote is about Fowler, who has tried to drift along in his own style but ends up coming to a decision point: Sitting on the fence is not easy.

"Sooner or later one has to take sides. If one is to remain human'.


message 19: by Inese (new)

Inese Okonova | 69 comments Tony wrote: "I'm glad as well that you enjoyed it Inese as I really like this novel - I read it last year and it is my favourite Graham Greene so far.

My favourite quote is about Fowler, who has tried to drift..."


It is great. I agree. My favorite quote is this: "Sometimes she seemed invisible like peace." How true to say that peace is invisible and we appreciate it only when it is lost.


message 20: by Tony (new)

Tony | 101 comments Inese wrote: "It is great. I agree. My favorite quote is this: "Sometimes she seemed invisible like peace." How true to say that peace is invisible and we appreciate it only when it is lost. "

Yes - great quote Inese.


back to top