Monday, January 30, 2006

The Quiet American

We had this story called 'A case for defence' in our 10th std. ICSE text book written by Graham Greene.When I read it,I decided that Greene was my favourite writer,and if he wrote novels he would be my favourite novelist as well.I agree it was the sort of choice you see people making when they say that Coldplay or for that matter Bryan Adams is their favourite rock band when quite clearly they don't know who CCR or Grateful Dead are.Or when they say Oasis,Radiohead are the best British bands ever when they haven't heard of the term British Invasion.But they remain happy and enjoy their choices,and I did the same then.Afterall I was but a schoolboy.

In these 3 days,I've seen The Third Man,read The Quiet American and watched the movie adaptation of The Quiet American too.Now after reading novelists other than Greene and reading stories other than by him I still don't think much different than I did then.Of course I won't go on and say things like 'he is the best ever' or 'he rules' or 'he is my favourite' but given a chance I would like to read his more serious novels now.These,I gather,he termed as entertainment.True they had the entertainment and mystery that such novels are meant to have but I think there was a much profound thought process behind them,especially 'The Quiet American',which rise above the premises of these jargon terms.

If you have read the novel and are then watching the movie it will feel like re-reading the chapters.Almost every dialogue,every setting,every situation is portayed exactly as it is in the book.Michael Caine was nominated for his performance and might have just won it hadn't it been for Adrien 'The Pianist' Brody.

Both these plots by Greene have something in common though.War ravaged cities of Vienna and Saigon provide the backdrop for a complicated set of dialogue exchanges between the two main protagonists both of who think their ideal to be the right one.There's a love triangle too-much,much pronouced in the latter case and infact forming the primary story.I can think of more if I strain myself but I am not sure it a worthwhile thing to do.Just one of those habits from trivia and quizzing.

I'm missing the Jethro Tull concert because I'm broke.If only I had been a better quizzer :(


thedq said...

I think even i had that story. Or at least another one by graham greene. Was this the one with the twins? One of them dies in the end...

Nikhil said...

yup same one,amazing ending

thedq said...

Oye. This story was nothing in front of 'the face on the wall'. do you remember that? EV lucas?

Nikhil said...

Of course I do,how can I forget 'The Face'.But Greene waala had a very disturbing,for lack of a proper word,end.This one was funny :D
'My Financial Career' was another brilliant one,something I can relate to :))

We had a nice story collection.Sad ones like 'Sparrows' and 'The Letter' and in a way 'Tiger in the Tunnel',unpredictable ones like 'After Twenty Years' ,'An Astrolger's Day' and these two we talked about.

*Sigh* Hope I didn't miss out anything :)

thedq said...

I remember the 'searing pain down his back' line in Tiger in the Tunnel.
And the first time heard word 'Paraphernalia' in Astrologers day :-D
The letter was damn sad. Even 'Sparrows'

Amazing you remember all the stories!!

Sarat Chandra Addepalli said...


my exact thoughts! I remember the word paraphernalia, and that I heard it for the first time in "An Astrologer's Day"!