Fowler's mistress, a beautiful native girl, creates a catalyst for jealousy and competition between the men and a cultural clash resulting in bloodshed and deep misgivings.
Written in 1955, prior to the Vietnam conflict, The Quiet American foreshadows the events leading up to the Vietnam War. Questions surrounding the moral ambiguity of the involvement of the United States in foreign countries are as relevant today as they were 50 years ago.
©1983 Graham Greene; (P)1993 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"There has been no novel of any political scope about Vietnam since Graham Greene wrote The Quiet American." (Harper's)
"Greene is a superb storyteller. He evokes the most actual streets, the most vivid skies, and individuals who can have a lacerating reality as they search the labyrinth of their lives." (Newsweek)
A storyteller, reader, and writer (in that chronological order) since childhood, Audible helps me to bring all 3 together.
Most of the interest of this story relies on the fascinating, and engaging character of the narrator, a cynical British journalist, whose moral sense is paradoxically awakened by the naive, seemingly-innocent, but fundamentally even more corrupt idealism of a crusading young American. The title misrepresents the book in my opinion: it's less about this man than the Brit who tells the story, and the American is not all that quiet, either. But it's a superb story, with a surprise ending. Even more surprising to me, is that it came from Graham Greene. I'd thought of him more or less as a Catholic author, but any limitations suggested by that label are blown out of the water by this book. Its moral subtlety and irony is like Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Doctrinaire Catholics (or doctrinaire anything) would certainly be disturbed by it.
However, the narration was ... well, tolerable is all I can say. At times, the narrator speaks mechanically, as if he's reciting a text. At other time, he comes more alive, but it's very uneven. He adopts a cynical tone, which is quite appropriate for the novel's narrator, but he overdoes it, using it all the time, even for situations where it sounds incongruous.
Say something about yourself!
This is absolutely one of my favorite Graham Greene novels, one that I have reread three times now. It provides a very unique insight into Vietnam during the 1950s prior to direct US involvement. Though the narration is uneven and the American accents in particular are dreadful, do not let that get in the way of this incredible story.
The Quiet American is an interesting, engaging and beautifully written novel inspired by Greene's own experiences as a war correspondent. Unfortunately, the audio is terrible. The narration was one of the worst I have ever heard. He has a very nasally voice with very odd inflections.
The worst part of his narration was the attempt at American accent. One of the main characters, who was supposedly from Boston, was rendered with an American Southern twang blended with British/English accent. The Vietnamese characters sounded very much like a racist comedy sketch. It was so bad that I spend the entire first hour trying to figure out how to return the book or consumed with horror at the awfulness of it all. Eventually, I sped it up to make it through it as fast as possible. To be far, the narration improves (or I just got used to it) after the first half because Pyle (the American) has less dialogue but overall the audio really destroyed my ability to truly the story.
The sample provided does not give you a good sense of how terrible it really sounds because the it doesn't let you hear the American accent (and this character is quite prominent). That said, it's a good book so I would highly recommend that you pass on the audible version and buy the hard copy or ebook.
The novel is great but the performance really had a negative effect. The american accent he used was
I'm happy to wade into a slow developing story as long as the prose is rich and evocative. This one is not. And the narrator doesn't help. His reading is ropy and wooden, and much too slow in some places. Maybe Graham Greene is better in print, but so far, his "End of the Affair" read by Colin Firth is the only Audiobook I've enjoyed so far. "Our Man in Havana" is not bad either.
It's a very snide, clever book. I enjoyed the writing.
Not the scenes, but the expository narration and flashbacks were very well done.
The first meeting of these two different expats in Vietnam.
I resorted to Audible after finding the book's not available as a Kindle download - it was for book club and I was on a deadline! I enjoyed the book so much that I also watched the recent movie with Michael Caine, which changes it up a bit, but does bring the timeframe and experiences to life.
Nevertheless, was very glad I'd started with the actual text, which is a worthwhile listen - a cross between escapism and the musings of hard reality.
I enjoyed this book on audio and appreciated the easy flow of writing and descriptions along with the wonderful narration by Joseph Porter, big fan of Graham Greene, recommended for those who wish to be transported to a foreign country and enjoy intrigue.
I found the reading in general good: the pace, clarity, emotional distancing. The attempt at an American accent, though, was a sad mistake that detracted from my enjoyment of the work.
I didn't enjoy the book too much. I thought listening to the audio would help, but the story just doesn't appeal to me. If you're interest are in history of war and battles, then this might grasp your attention more. Overall grade, C+.
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