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Danielle Flood: The Unquiet Daughter

Danielle Flood:  The Unquiet Daughter



Introduction to Danielle Flood.  3:23 min.  Photo & Design by Raymond Elman.


Danielle Flood’s true story, The Unquiet Daughter, could be called the sequel to Graham Greene’s  classic novel The Quiet American, which has been taught on college campuses all over the world for decades.

“Passionate and unflinchingly honest, The Unquiet Daughter is a fascinating memoir that explores the tangled connections between Graham Greene’s fictional version of wartime Indochina and the real people there whose actions have haunted the author for most of her life,” said Graham Greene expert Michael Sheldon. 

The Unquiet Daughter was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award in autobiography, and was an Amazon best seller.  An excerpt can be read on her website.

Flood was born in Saigon and brought to Washington, D.C., by her foreign service officer stepfather and her tall, beautiful-to-the-point-of-inconvenience, mother. Her parents parted ways, and after being abandoned in the City of New York by her mother at the age of 15, Flood clawed her way through her education and became a reporter at Associated Press World Headquarters at Rockefeller Plaza at a very young age.

“I claim to be an old-fashioned classically-trained journalist,” she says, “because accuracy and fairness were drummed into me at Fordham University, even before I went to the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. But I’m also an old-time journalist because, sadly, some of the publications I worked for don’t exist anymore.”

Samples of Flood’s feature stories, republished on her website,, cover subjects ranging from famous persons’ first loves, living window-to-window in New York, how public high schools were giving students places and time to smoke cigarettes (in the l970s), and how a New Jersey paint plant was spewing sulphuric acid all over a small town in the middle of the night, until it was shut down as a result of her reporting.

Flood’s classical training as a journalist helped her with her memoir. “We were taught to not trust our memories, to take notes at all times, even if we had to use toilet paper. So when I wrote my memoir, after the first draft, I went back and sought out records, photos and interviews with many people to confirm whatever I could. And then I had to do investigative work: interviewing some two dozen foreign service officers and their wives, who were living and working in Saigon when my parents and Graham Greene were there, to find out who I was. I had to know what kind of a situation I came from, though I knew in my heart I had to have come from love.”

Flood worked for five daily newspapers in addition to the Associated Press, and did much freelancing for other publications, including Sunshine Magazine at the Fort Lauderdale News and Sun Sentinel. Her last staff position was as the lead feature writer for The Miami News. Shortly thereafter she met and fell in love with her husband, the three-time Pulitzer Prize winning political cartoonist, Jim Morin.

In the late 1990s she learned that Graham Greene’s authorized biographer had described her mother, father, and stepfather in the second volume of his biography and noted that Greene knew about them. Shortly after 9/11 she began eleven years of work on The Unquiet Daughter.

Flood, who is currently working on a novel, is represented by literary agent Wendy Sherman, New York.

The videos below are organized by Success Factor, and run between 45 seconds and 5 minutes. Click on any video. You must be connected to the Internet to view the videos.




How long have you wanted to write your memoir? And then, how long did it take you to get started?



When you were a young girl and watched your mother take her clothes off in burlesque, it must have been startling, but in today’s more sexually explicit world, it seems tame.


RESILIENCE:  2:21 min.

It must have been very confusing to you as a little girl to be treated like Cinderella while living an upper class life in a penthouse in Manhattan.



When did you make the connection between your life story and Graham Greene’s The Quiet American?


EMPATHY:  3:07 min.

It’s like you were in a Kafka story. Everyone around you is behaving bizarrely, and you react as a normal person. It’s a miracle that you survived to tell this story.



When people have a difficult childhood, they generally say, “I’m not going to be like my parents.” What were you thinking when you approached motherhood?


SERENDIPITY: 3:52 min.

Where did you and your husband, Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Jim Morin, first meet?


RESILIENCE:   0:56 sec.

Did you tell Jim Morin your whole life story before you were married? Or did you let him in gradually?



What are some of the lessons from your memoir and why did you write it?



How was writing your memoir a cathartic experience?



When did you first see the two movies that were based on your parent’s life story, and read Graham Greene’s book?



There were two movies made of Greene’s “The Quiet American” (1955 & 2002). What stood out for you?



Tell us about the French landed gentry side of your mother’s family.



Did you ever meet your maternal grandmother?


RESILIANCE:  1:13 min.

You have half-sisters that you lost contact with for a while. Do you have a relationship with them now?



What did it mean to you to explore Graham Greene’s novel?



What did you like most about your mother?


EMPATHY:  1:16 min.

Your mother painted. Do you have any of her paintings?


EMPATHY:  1:46 min.

In your book you describe the evolution of your feelings for your stepfather and your biological father. What are you feelings about each after finishing “The Unquiet Daughter?”