Fw: "The Quiet American" and "Lolita"
----- Original Message -----
From: Dasa Duhacek
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum
Sent: Monday, November 25, 2002 5:31 AM
Cheers, R. Mastilovic
London Review of Books, 14 November 2002
Thomas Jones [on The Quiet American]
[...] There is an interesting comparison to be made with Lolita, which was published in the same year as The Quiet American. Nabokov
was delightfully scathing of 'an otherwise intelligent reader who . . . described Lolita as "Old Europe debauching young America"'.
The notion, once he's put you in mind of it, is nonetheless hard to shake off: Fowler's Pyle and Humbert's Lolita, America through
the eyes of a condescending and infatuated Europe. To say that Pyle has grown up into George W. Bush would be a little too neat,
and one of the lessons of The Quiet American is that anything that looks straightforward should be distrusted: this applies both to
supplying renegade 'Third Forces' with powerful weapons and to reducing entire nations to graspable stereotypes. The last time
they see each other, Pyle says to Fowler: 'You talk like a European, Thomas. These people aren't complicated.' Fowler replies: 'Is
that what you've learned in a few months? You'll be calling them childlike next.' Pyle says: 'Well - in a way.' And Fowler tells him:
'Find me an uncomplicated child, Pyle. When we are young we are a jungle of complications. We simplify as we get older.'