Graham Greene: The Quiet American

(2498 words)
  • Joe Nordgren

In late January 1951, Greene flew from Malaya to French Indochina in order to visit his longtime friend Trevor Wilson, who was then the British consul in Hanoi. Although he never anticipated that he would one day set a novel there, Greene fell in love with Vietnam. He recalls,

The spell was first cast, I think, by the tall elegant girls in white silk trousers; by the pewter evening light on flat paddy fields, where the water buffaloes trudged fetlock deep with a slow primeval gait; by the French perfumeries in the rue Catina, the Chinese gambling houses in Cholon; above all by that feeling of exhilaration which a measure of danger brings to the visitor with a return ticket. (Ways of Escape, 1980)
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Nordgren, Joe. "The Quiet American". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 August 2005
[, accessed 01 July 2015.]