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0187 | The Quiet American – Graham Greene

Context: Listened to this as we moved from High Wycombe to Cambridge and settled in in Bar Hill.

Not one of Greene’s best and one of his later works. It doesn’t really hold a candle to the other greats I’ve read of his, and I’ve read pretty much all of his as he’s one of my favourite authors. I had hoped for more from this. Alas…

There’s a lot of irony in here. Greene’s view of USAnians and their approach to political involvement in Indo-China is very apparent. He didn’t like it much. Pyle, (the Quiet American) is anything but really. He’s irritating and culturally about as sensitive as a bomb going off. He’s also into bombs going off.

While all that may be valid actually, what is sad is that Greene wasn’t able to realise that British involvement in Indo-China pretty much amounted to the same thing. Probably still does.

I think Greene was trapped in his time though and couldn’t really see the wood for the trees in this respect. The future will all judge us more harshly than I fear we feel comfortable with.

After dinner I sat and waited for Pyle in my room over the rue Catinat; he had said, ‘I’ll be with you at latest by ten,’ and when midnight struck I couldn’t stay quiet any longer and went down into the street.

Everything had gone right with me since he had died, but how I wished there existed someone to whom I could say that I was sorry.

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