Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Graham Greene's Saigon

Lam Son Square, site of the Opera House, is pivotal in downtown Saigon. Readers of Graham Greene’s The Quiet American will know that this square (formerly Place Garnier) was the scene of the bomb attack in Greene’s novel. Extras used in the 2002 movie were real Vietnam War veterans who had lost limbs in the fighting; local expats were used as café drinkers at the Continental Hotel. Graham Greene stayed at the Continental and it was a haunt for hacks during the war years. Sadly, the Givral café, where protagonist Thomas Fowler’s lover Phuong used to go for her daily morning meet, has closed, to be knocked down for another Saigon high rise in glass. It’s a shame this small piece of history has been demolished.

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