Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Review: The Bridge Over the River Kwai by Pierre Boulle

Synopsis: In one of the most famous and widely-read novels of our time, Pierre Boulle tells the story of Colonel Nicholson, brilliant officer, disciplinarian, perfectionist, whose passion for duty led him to perform an almost impossible feat of military genius for the Japanese Army he hated. (from the back of the book)

Review: I wanted to like this book. Considering its place as a classic and the source for a famous, award-winning movie, I expected it to be something …more? Instead, it was dull, too much telling, stereotypical characters that felt like wooden dolls tromping across a stage. I understand it was based on the author’s experience as a POW under the Japanese. In particular, he claimed it was a French captain’s collaboration with the Japanese that he based Colonel Nicholson on. However, history does not support this.
Perhaps the writing doesn’t translate will in to English, which is why the writing is dull and the characters trite. The story has promise, the class of honor and patriotism. But the characters never felt real enough to engage the reader, and draw them into the conflict.
So much potential, wasted due to poor writing. Read it if you want to read a classic about this time on our history, as there seems to be a lack of fiction about it, but don’t expect anything spectacular. 

Bookmarks: 3 of 5

Awards: France's Prix Sainte-Beuve in 1952 

Year Published: 1952 (French) / 1954 (English)
Date Finished: 3-5-2017
Pages: 150 

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