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The Quiet American Audiobook

The Quiet American

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Publisher's Summary

Alden Pyle, an idealistic young American, is sent to Vietnam to promote democracy amidst the intrigue and violence of the French war with the Vietminh, while his friend, Fowler, a cynical foreign correspondent, looks on.

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.

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (291 )
5 star
 (111)
4 star
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3 star
 (49)
2 star
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1 star
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Overall
4.2 (226 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
3.4 (224 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Richard New York, NY, United States 07-12-12
    Richard New York, NY, United States 07-12-12 Member Since 2003
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    "Terrible narrator nearly derails Greene novel."

    Because Audible asks us about performance, I feel that I should bring it up. But first, because of a recent trip to Viet Nam, I decided to get and listen to this book. The story, itself, is remarkable and very prescient regarding American impending tragic and misguided involvement into Southeast Asia. But at it's heart, "The Quiet American" is a tale of two dissimilar men and their love for a beautiful Vietnamese woman. One man is an older British newspaperman saddled with a wife back in England. The other is a young, naive, low level, diplomat from Boston. The bonds, these two forge in friendship and rivalry, whether in a Saigon dance club or in the heat of battle, takes up the majority of this book.

    Unfortunately, Joseph Porter, fails miserably on all accounts in his narrating. Aside from his stilted readings of prose that is both beautiful and exciting, his accents, age and sex differentiation's are atrocious. His Englishmen seem to all come from some strange middle-class. Fowler, the stories narrator, is a mid-fifties hard drinking and smoking Londoner and yet he sounds like bland radio personality. Pyle his rival and friend is even worse, sounding like a late forties mid-westerner with an sixth grade reading level. All the other characters just sound canned-spaggetti versions of real people.

    Seriously, forget listening and read the book.
    Audilble please redo this classic and terrific story with a much better voice.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jay A. Gladieux 10-24-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I just could not listen to this narrator"

    with his silly attempts at an American accent and overly stilted British one. The story is a good one.

    13 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vinchi 07-17-09
    Vinchi 07-17-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "unbearable"

    This reader is unbearable, could only stand it for an hour. Listen to a sample before you buy this one.

    16 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cliff Wilsonville, OR, United States 03-19-11
    Cliff Wilsonville, OR, United States 03-19-11 Member Since 2006
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    "Bostonian With a Southern Twang...kinda"

    While the story was intriguing enough, the narration was a great distraction. The attempt at an American accent (that should have been Bostonian but came across as a bad Southern accent) was poor to be generous. If you want to know what the American accent sounded like, watch Young Frankenstein and listen to the character "Inspector Kemp." It was to say the least very distracting, bordering on annoying.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fred Saco, ME, USA 04-26-10
    Fred Saco, ME, USA 04-26-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Bad Narrator"

    I had to read this book for a U.S. History course in college. I got through a good portion of the book by reading - but decided to buy the audiobook as listening is much more convienent. After 5 minutes of listening I had to turn it off. The narrator is so unlively and boring that it made the book unbearable. Take caution and listen to the sample before buying.

    I still give it two stars, because the story is excellent for those who are history junkies :]

    -Steph.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David San Diego, CA, United States 04-26-17
    David San Diego, CA, United States 04-26-17 Member Since 2011
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    "Interesting story, poor performance"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I would like to have known more of Phoung, her thoughts, her views, her decision making process.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Vigot, as he is torn between friendship and duty is one of the more interesting characters.


    How could the performance have been better?

    My major critique is that many of the American accents by the reader sounded very similar to each other. As such, there in a passage where the Americans were speaking with each other, it was hard to follow who was who.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doug 07-21-09
    Doug 07-21-09 Member Since 2015
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    "Mystery & political intrigue"

    The Quiet American of the title is not the simple aide worker he seems to be...he has been sent to Vietnam to open a door for American influence, to secure a place for American power to grow from a tiny beginning. The American government sees that the French are about to lose the country, and the Americans do not plan to stand by and let the country go "communist."

    Greene astutely points out that to the peasants in the rice fields, who have been there for hundreds of years and will be there for hundreds more, the style of government in the capital, whether it be Hanoi or Saigon or elsewhere, matters little. The rice farmer is concerned with his work and with feeding his family...he knows nothing of the democracy of the Greeks or of the socialism of Marx.

    But powerful nations are determined to play out their chess game in Vietnam, indeed in all of Indochina. And this quiet American is calm on the surface but roiling inside with his idealism of saving these little brown brothers from the evil of communism....saving them even at the cost of killing a few, or more than a few of them in the process.

    Along with a morally ambiguous plot, standard in Greene novels, there is an unusual love story involving two western men who are captured by the allure of a young and beautiful Vietnamese woman. For both men she is life itself...but she may also be death, perhaps for the one who wins her and also for the one who loses her.

    An earlier reviewer did not like the narrator, the reader of the audiobook. Like him, I say listen to a sample. I did not find the reader to be unsatisfactory. For me, the reader simply disappeared as I got caught up in the story. Isn't that the way it should be?

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BarelyAudible Paris, TX 10-11-17
    BarelyAudible Paris, TX 10-11-17 Member Since 2014
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    "I feel lucky to have found this book"

    There are few books I feel lucky to have found. I've always wondered how we wound up in Viet Nam. This book does a brilliant job showing the period before the Viet Nam war, through a beautiful story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris D. 10-09-17
    Chris D. 10-09-17
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    "Compelling story, not a great performance"

    Graham Greene’s reflections on colonialism and American exceptionalism are brilliantly brought to life in The Quiet American.

    Many characters are more stereotype than not, it could be argued this is intentional.

    The performance, however, left me wanting. Porter’s ability to voice different characters is limited, sometimes resulting in confusion about which individual is speaking in a conversation. His American accent is clumsy and inconsistent. Also, his pacing in dialog sometime doesn’t reflect well Greene’s intent.

    Porter’s pronunciation of Vietnamese names and the one Spanish name are annoyingly not correct. Phuong and Truong, are slightly mispronounced, but Dominguez is decidedly wrong.

    A minor complaint is that voices and other background noise can be faintly heard on the recording suggesting that this was not performed in a proper sound studio.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    patrick f daly san jose, ca United States 10-06-17
    patrick f daly san jose, ca United States 10-06-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Good story, horrendous American accents"

    Great story almost ruined by the narrator's diabolical attempt at an american accent. Some of Greene's dialogue doesn't ring true from an american, but it's the reading that is really bad. I came to this book from Denis Johnson's Tree of Smoke. Contrast this reading to Will Patton's outstanding perf of Tree of Smoke. Night and Day.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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