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I live in Bedford, England. Having retired from teaching; I am now a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Threshold Concepts in the context of A-level Physics. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. I have also recently become a keen playgoer to London Fringe Theatre. I enjoy mostly classics and I read the playscripts and add those to the blog. I am a member of Bedford Writers' Circle. See their website here: http://bedford-writers.co.uk/ Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Thursday, 17 September 2009

"Bridge on the River Kwai" by Pierre Boulle

One can't help thinking of the film! Of course there are a lot of differences.

I could never quite understand why the medical officer didn't tell the Colonel straight off that he was providing aid and comfort to the enemy. Even at the start when the Colonel refused to let his men escape from Singapore because they had been ordered to surrender....

The book is very interested in the psychology of the Colonel and his officers, particularly the engineer who takes such pride in building the best bridge he can; and of the saboteurs who wonder whether they will be able to cut a man's throat if they need to. It is actually very detailed in its descriptions of wartime sabotage and the jungle etc. It is  racist, of its time, when it contrasts the brutish Japanese officer Saito with the noble Brits and when it goes on about the advantages of Western technology over Eastern. Yet it almost redeems itself when it realises that the primary fear in both the Japanese and the English was the fear of losing face.

It is a simple narrative with lots of detail. It reminded me considerably of a James Bond book - much better and much more stark and brutal than one would expect from the films.

September 2009, 189 pages

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