Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Quiet American by Graham Greene

I had never read any Graham Greene before, but I heard good reviews from friends, so I decided to read this short novel set in Vietnam prior to the Vietnam war (or as my Vietnamese friend refers to it, the American war). Though it was interesting to read about the attitudes and skirmishes that led up to the escalation of war in Vietnam, I can't say I loved the book. There are three main characters: British journalist Fowler, American operative and rival Pyle and Phuong, their Vietnamese love interest. Of the three characters, Fowler is the only one with any depth and he's not entirely likeable either. In this book, Greene has written some very astute observations about international relations and evocative passages about the Vietnamese landscape/culture, but if you like character-driven novels, this isn't one I can recommend.

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