Hello! I would like to recommend a book I just read in English class:
I read the book The Quiet American written by Graham Greene. The novel was first published in 1955 in the UK, and in 1956 in the United States. It is an anti-war novel which draws on Greene's experiences as a war correspondent for The Times and Le Figaro in French Indochina in 1951–1954. He was apparently inspired to write The Quiet American in October 1951 while driving back to Saigon from the Ben Tre province.
The book tells the story about the British journalist Thomas Fowler in his fifties who has been covering the French war in Vietnam for over two years. He meets a young American idealist named Alden Pyle, who lives his life and forms his opinions based on the books written by York Harding, with no real experience in matters of south-east Asia at all. When Pyle and Fowler first meet, Pyle says he would be delighted if Fowler could help him understand more about the country. Pyle is young and idealistic, unlike Fowler who is much older, more realistic and more cynical. But the book does not only portray the horror of the Vietminh-war, love is also an important theme throughout the novel. Fowler has a young lover, who is thirty years younger than Fowler, named Phoung. She worked as a dancer until she met Fowler. The problems start when Pyle meets Fowler’s lover, and falls head over heels in love with her. From there on it is not only a story about conflicts between nations, but also a love triangle which has a tragic ending. And in my opinion the saying: “All is fair in love and war” is the perfect description of the plot.
|The Quiet American (2002 film)|
I would say that Drama is the main genre, but it is also crime novel since the book starts with the murder of Pyle and then takes us back to the begging when Pyle and Fowler met. And the further you read into the book, it is reviled that Pyle was involved in an American conspiracy project against the communism called “the third force” and that he was not as innocent and pure as portrayed in the beginning.
|Henry Graham Greene|
What I really liked about the book is how the author portrays the Vietnam-war, I liked that for once the Americans aren’t described as the world’s big brother or the heroes of the day who just wanted to save Vietnam from communism. You notice how Greene’s personal meanings and experiences influence the political point view of the French Indo-China and the Vietnam-war. He spent three years writing the novel, which foreshadowed The US involvement in Vietnam long before it became publicly known. The book was the initial reason for Graham Greene being under constant surveillance by US intelligence agencies from the 1950s until his death in 1991.
The Quiet American is not only an entertaining novel, but after reading this book you are also left with a lot of knowledge as Greene’s writing is based on facts and actual happenings. Since the book is about how the two men Pyle and Fowler fights for Phoung’s love too it is also appealing for others target groups. The narrator as written several resembling novels and is acknowledged for his work all over the world, The Quiet American being one of his bestselling books.
This is a book worth reading, and I hope you all will take my advice! The Quiet American was adapted into films in 1958 and in 2002, so if you don’t feel like reading you can watch one or both movies. I have not seen any of the films myself, but in the 2002 version we meet Michael Caine as Thomas Fowler, who was nominated for the Oscar as Best actor, so I believe it is a great movie. Enjoy!
The Quiet American, 1955