Tag Archives: The Quiet American

Quote of the Day

Image result for graham greene, the quiet american

Not only does Vietnam rank among my favourite places in the world, but one of my most enduring memories of the country is how you can purchase a photocopied version of Graham Green’s The Quiet American (1955) anywhere you go, though truth be told The End of the Affair will always remain his true masterpiece in my mind. From Hanoi all the way down to Saigon (HCMC), you’re bound to find a copy of this “quiet” classic in its plastic casing and impossible-to-find-on-the-Internet green cover that is unique only (to my knowledge) to Vietnamese photocopiers.

Considered one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, Greene was the author of more than 25 novels during his lifetime. He was also one of the rare cases of someone who could mesmerize you as much with his prose as with his storyline. Case in point, this shot-to-the-heart, poignant sentence from The Quiet American, which I’m convinced was the impetus behind Dame A.S. Byatt’s beautiful (and Booker Prize-winning) novel, Possession(1990), the same woman who would then go on to help propel the career of a young man named David Mitchell after reading the ARC for number9dream (2003) on a transatlantic flight more than a decade ago. But back to Mr. Greene and The Quiet American

“The hurt is in the act of possession: we are too small in mind and body to possess another person without pride or to be possessed without humiliation.”

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