Saturday, May 07, 2011

The Quiet American
The Quiet American 

"I wish sometimes you had a few bad motives, you might understand a little more about human beings."  -  Graham Greene

It is amazing that this book was written almost a decade before America's "Viet Nam War". The story that Greene tells should have been known well enough to influence some leaders in America, but nonetheless we can read it with a freshness today that should give us pause as we move on to more foreign entanglements. In it he deftly mixes a story of deception with one of star-crossed lovers. In some sense it was almost brutal in its depiction of the dark side of humanity, but Greene is always at home presenting a complex view of human character and this is another fine example of his skill at that. Reading the book and discussing it with two different groups led me to see it as one of Greene's best novels where he captures the atmosphere of the place and time and gives us characters that seem real with a touch of mystery and sadness.

"So it always is: when you escape to a desert the silence shouts in your ear."   — Graham Greene

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