The Quiet American

  • by Graham Greene
  • Narrated by Simon Cadell
  • 5 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Into the intrigue and violence of Indo-China comes Pyle, a young idealistic American sent to promote democracy through a mysterious 'Third Force'. As his naive optimism starts to cause bloodshed, his friend Fowler finds it hard to stand and watch.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Love and War in Indo-China

I've seen filmed version of this book several times, but, after listening to this audio version, think the book is better. Not least because the main character, Fowler, a middle-aged foreign correspondent engages in much introspection that is difficult to depict in a film. Fowler is a typical Greene character: world weary, melancholy, with a young mistress and wife at a distance. The latter a devout Catholic which introduces ruminations about God and religion: common topics in Greene's more serious books.

Fowler is on a journalistic assignment reporting the Vietnam War. He has been living with a pragmatic young local woman for some time when he meets, Pyle, the American of the title whose official role is rather hazy but seems to have a have a hidden agenda to promote a Third Force in the area.

Fowler and Pyle surprisingly become friends and a section of the book describes a hair-raising trip they do together into the North of the country. Their friendship is strained by Pyle's desire to marry Fowler's mistress.

The story starts with the death of, Pyle, and switches back and forth in time to reveal by the end, how and why he died. On the way a number of well-rounded characters play their parts against the back-drop of the Vietnam War. There's intrigue, corruption, violence and love: a heady mixture that makes for an exciting, but sad story.

The reader of the book is excellent
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- Kirstine

Compelling but don't expect laughs

The novel by Graham Greene follows a middle-aged, dissillusioned and depressed reporter in the French-Vietnam war. His determination to remain emotionally and philosophically uninvolved with the conflict, and life, comes under further strain by the naive American Pyle.
This novel is very well written and captures the weariness of it's generation with war and ideology. The audiobook, however, is not brilliantly read. The narrator doesn't differentiate between characters well so dialogue can become hard to follow and the tone makes a novel thats subject is already depressing even more so.
If the narration had been better I would have given this a 4 start review but as it is The Quiet American gets a 3.
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- Si

Book Details

  • Release Date: 19-03-2009
  • Publisher: Audible Studios