The Quiet American by Graham Greene
New York : The Viking Press, 1956. First American edition, first printing. Hardcover. 249 pages ; 22 cm. $3.50 dust jacket with minimal wear. Pages are age toned and unmarked. Binding is firm.
The Quiet American
Graham Greene's new novel — the first since 1951 — is a study of New World hope and innocence set in an old world of violence, a modern variant on a theme which in the last century attracted Mark Twain and other writers. In all Mr. Greene's recent serious novels, from Brighton Rock through The End of the Affair, a major theme was Catholicism. Now, he indicates, he has entered a new vein, starting with The Quiet American, where religion plays little or no part.
The scene is Saigon in the violent recent years when the French were desperately trying to hold their footing in the Far East. The principal characters are a skeptical British journalist, his attractive Vietnamese mistress, and an eager young American sent out by Washington on a mysterious mission. Local intrigue, a night in a beleaguered outpost, a perilous venture behind the Communist lines — these are ingredients of the outward story. But — as is usual with Graham Greene — the story is deeply enriched by psychological tensions and battles of conflicting personalities. If the quiet American's motives come off less well than some American readers might wish, the author at least has not played favorites. The other nationals, including the British, are just as sharply exposed by his critical scalpel.
At once a story of personal love, of physical danger, and of international rivalries, this novel will be regarded as one of Graham Greene's major works.
JACKET DESIGN BY BILL ENGLISH
The English critics say of
THE QUIET AMERICAN:
"... I found this novel superb, the sort of prize for devotion to duty that conies to a reviewer once in several years. Who else writing today has this grasp of a compelling idea, this light yet grave handling of words, this quiet deadly accuracy of phrase?"
— NORMAN SHRAPNEL, Manchester Guardian Weekly
"It is as a story-teller that he shines in his new book. The Quiet American ... is, among many other things, a continu¬ously exciting and well-written narrative."
— PETER QUENNELL, London Daily Mail
"... unless I am very much mistaken The Quiet American is as near a masterpiece as anything else I have ever read in the last 20 years." — NANCY SPAIN, London Daily Express
"The technical accomplishment is everywhere superb. . . . There are brilliant scenes of battle and an element of humor that is rare in Mr. Greene's work . . . masterly, original and vigorous." — EVELYN WAUGH, London Sunday Times
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