THE QUIET AMERICAN by Graham Greene (hier online bestellen)
This is the story of a love triangle involving a naive American spook, a jaded English journalist and a
young Vietnamese girl, lurking just beneath the surface is an allegory for the whole experience of America in
Alden Pyle, the Quiet American of the title, was based on Col. Edward Lansdale, the renowned, or infamous
depending on your politics, CIA operative who was sent to Viet Nam in the 50's to subvert the Vietminh after
a string of successes in the Phillipines (he was also the model for William Lederer's and Eugene Burdicks
"The Ugly American"). Pyle is an innocent who believes that others must surely share his ideals and pureness
of motive. He is convinced, based on his adherence to the writings of York Harding, that there is a Third
Way for Vietnam, somewhere between Communism and the corrupt colonial government. He has come to Vietnam to
foster a group that will adhere to this Third Way. The journalist, Fowler, a cynical world-weary man of much
wider experience, realizes that Pyle is a dangerous man because he is imposing his idealized vision on a group
that is merely power hungry. Meanwhile, Pyle has fallen in love with Phuong, Fowler's Vietnamese girlfriend.
And while Fowler can offer her little because his wife refuses to grant him a divorce, Pyle offers marriage
and respectability and a life in America. As Fowler loses Phuong to Pyle and Pyle's group begins a terror
campaign, Fowler finally abandons his neutrality and chooses sides, a choice made all the more ambiguous
because of his romantic rivalry with Pyle.
The prescient pessimism that pervades this book is it's most interesting feature. Greene, writing well before
we really got involved, seemed to sense that Vietnam was a tar baby that we idealistic Americans would not be
able to resist embracing. Pyle's bloody blundering seems to presage the well-intended but disastrous mess that
we would make of the entire country in the decades to come. One wishes that men like Robert McNamara and the
Kennedys had paid attention to this literate warning.
Extract from book:
"Dear Thomas," he wrote, "I can't begin to tell you how swell you were the other night. I can tell you my heart
was in my mouth when I walked into that room to find you." (Where had it been on the long boat-ride down the
river?) "There are not many men who would have taken the whole thing so calmly. You were great, and I don't
feel half as mean as I did, now that I've told you." (Was he the only one that mattered? I wondered angrily,
and yet I knew that he didn't intend it that way. To him the whole affair would be happier as soon as he didn't
feel mean - I would be happier, Phuong would be happier, the whole world would be happier, even the Economic
Attaché and the Minister. Spring had come to Indo-China now that Pyle was mean no longer.)
About the author:
Greene, (Henry) Graham (1904-1991), English novelist, concerned with spiritual struggle in a deteriorating world.
Born in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, the son of a headmaster, Greene was educated at the University of Oxford. He
worked for the London Times from 1926 to 1929 and then as a free-lance writer. In 1935 he was film critic for the
Spectator, a British newspaper, and in 1940 he was named literary editor. From 1942 to 1943 he worked for the
British Foreign Office in western Africa and after World War II (1939-1945) he traveled widely.
Major works by Greene include The Quiet American (1955), Our Man in Havana (1958), A Burnt-out Case (1961),
The Comedians (1966), The Honorary Consul (1973), The Human Factor (1978), and The Tenth Man (1985). Many of
his novels have been adapted for motion pictures; The Third Man (1950), another spy thriller, was written
specifically for filming. As an essayist, he compiled Lost Childhood and Other Essays (1952) and Collected
Essays (1969), the latter mostly comprising studies of other writers. He also wrote books for children. Among
his plays are The Living Room (1953), The Potting Shed (1957), and The Complaisant Lover (1959). A Sort of
Life (1971) and its sequel Ways of Escape (1980) are his autobiographies.
Greene's works are characterized by vivid detail, a variety of settings (Mexico, Africa, Haiti, Vietnam),
and a detached objective portrayal of characters under various forms of social, political, or psychological
stress. Evil is omnipresent. In later novels, a dimension of moral doubt and conflict add to the terror and
suspense. The 1982 novel Monsignor Quixote, which confronts Marxism with Catholicism, is gentler in tone.
A World of My Own: A Dream Diary (1994), written by Greene in the final months of his life, is a partly
fictitious, partly autobiographical work based on 800 pages of diaries kept over a 24-year span.
THE QUIET AMERICAN by Graham Greene
Broschiert - 192 Seiten - Vintage
Erscheinungsdatum: 7. Oktober 2004
Preis: € 11,50
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