Author: Graham Greene
Publication Date: 1955
Review Score: 7/10
Into the intrigue and violence of Indo-China arrives Pyle, a young idealistic American sent to promote democracy through a mysterious ‘Third Force’. As his naive optimism starts to cause bloodshed, his new friend Fowler, a cynical and ageing 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?
Those of you who follow this blog will know that so far I have avoided both war and romance based novels, going more towards the adventure and sci-fi genres, and so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with The Quiet American.
At first I thought the story would be quite bland and predictable, especially considering the end of the story is revealed in the first chapter! But by switching from past to present throughout the novel and giving away just small nuggets of information 1 at a time, it is continuously intriguing from start to end.
What’s more, the story is shaped by the beautifully tragic surroundings Greene places the characters in and describes so well. The constant flipping from fine dining to horrific war perfectly parallels the feelings of love and hate Pyle and Fowler have for each other, feeling at times like brothers whilst both fighting for the affection of the same woman.
It is not the most original or exciting novel ever but it is a love story beautifully told and well worth a read!