Quiet American, The

Greene, Graham

  11 Reviews

One of Greene's lighter novels. Set in Vietman in the 1950s, it is the story of a young, idealistic and quiet American called Pyle who is employed in the Economic Aid Mission. He is sent to Vietnam to promote democracy , but is it possible to intervene in another culture to solve their problems? Could we often be the cause of their problems?

Comments from Groups

This book was enjoyed by the whole group and reinforced for some the quality of the author's writing, and his ability to portray the tensions in a country where colonialism was still in evidence.There was an interesting discussion on Vietnam today as experienced by some members of the group, in comparison with its colonial history and the changes before, during and after the Vietnam War. Overall verdict: fascinating. Whangarei 015

The entire group enjoyed and appreciated Graham Greene's craftsmanship and skill with prose.The three protagonists (especially the males) represent their respective cultures and philosophies. While discussing Vietnam and war, we needed to remind ourselves of the book's historical setting rather our perspectives shaped by subsequent events. A good read! Christchurch 095

Everyone at our meeting really enjoyed "The Quiet American", especially Graham Greene's use of language.Wanaka 005

We all enjoyed it, some more than others. The descriptions were evocative, and the creation of atmosphere very good. Tairua 001

A favourable reaction from all our group, and a lively discussion held. For several members this was the first Graham Greene novel that they had read, and they're interested in further titles. As the writer of the notes pointed out, the novel provided a great deal of material to discuss and argue about. A very thought provoking read. Wellington 062



AUCK 379
The group found it of historical interest, although the atrocities described are no longer shocking after 50 years of televised war porn. Despite their different cultural biases, the protagonists' universal self-interest and lack of character evolution made them minimally interesting.
WELL 024
Most of the group enjoyed the different writing style to that of today - short, sharp, concise. However the nature of the story, and the characters, were not enjoyed by all, and the word 'misogynist' was mentioned!
ASHB 004
Excellent - great discussion, because so topical with parallels elsewhere in the world. Some of us could remember marching against the Vietnam War, without really knowing how it started.
WELL 062
Favourable reaction from all of the group, and a lively discussion. For several members this was the first Graham Greene that they'd read, and they're interested in further titles. As the writer of the notes pointed out, the novel provided a great deal of material to discuss and argue about. A very thought provoking read.
Younger members of the group found it bland, most didn't finish it. The rest enjoyed the book and the story. We enjoyed and empathised (to a degree) with Fowler, but had very little liking for Pyle and everything he stood for - and thought this well portrayed. The story was read on different levels by various members - some read it as a love story, others as a political commentary.
AUCK 166
Those who read it really enjoyed it. Felt it epitomised war in all its horror, beautifully crafted with minimal prose, but evoking the environment and that fear. Others struggled with appreciating it.
WANG 011
The book was received well. We have all read Graham Greene before, but often long ago, and several of us are now keen to re-read him - he is so good.
HAVE 005
The group found the book quite challenging, and those with English as a second language even more so. However, everyone agreed it was evocative of the time in Vietnam.
CHCH 395
Most of our group enjoyed this book and found the characters interesting. We had a good discussion, but one member did not finish the book.
AUCK 153
We all really enjoyed this book, and it promoted a lot of good discussion.
WELL 001
This book began the year very well. Everyone was enthusiastic about it. A number of the members who had been to Vietnam talked about that. For most people, this was a re-reading, and we discussed how our view of the book had changed. The "French War" now more clearly separated in our minds from the "American War".