The Purple Plain Paperback – 18 May 2006
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"'One of the most exciting and perfectly executed pieces of fiction that I have ever read' Spectator * 'It haunts you, alike for the queer and mounting suspense and for the masterly portraits of the three men' Sunday Times * 'Few writers have a more exact feel for texture - of a flower, a face, a silence - and it is this that has value,' Spectator * 'H. E. Bates can achieve a quality of lyrical intensity that few contemporary novelists can match' The Times Literary Supplement"
A breathtaking tale of endurance, from the bestselling novelist, H.E. Bates. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
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Top customer reviews
This novel, the Purple Plain, is a moving landscape hot, dry, and sometimes very threatening. We start with an angry, almost suicidal warrior, resentful of death, yet courting the temptation of ending it all without a thought. As a young airman in the Second World War, he met and married, and then lost his wife during an air-raid in London. Ever since, he has cared less about his life, and the lives of all around him. He may be a good pilot, but he is unpopular and alone.
Thankfully for him, the Doctor, in desperation, introduces him to a local missionary, where he is forced to understand the plight of others in wartime. He learns that many in the village walked from Rangoon to escape the war, losing many lives along the way. One day, the missionary and village are bombed, which brings death and destruction right back in front of his eyes. Suddenly, he is not along in his anger, grief and desolation.
Then, he meets a girl, Anna, with whom he forms a tentative relationship, watched by the missionary, his Doctor, and her family. His life seems to be improving.
On a simple, straight forward flight, things go wrong, and he, together with two colleagues, crash in the middle of nowhere. They all survive the accident, but have a harrowing and desperate trek back to civilization.
If you were to read this novel in the depth of winter with the snow and cold winds outside, I know that you would be sweating and generally feeling uncomfortable with the Author's poetry of the heat, and the dust, and the exhaustion encountered throughout this book. The author's use of word pictures is moving beyond belief.
I also noted that Carrington, the navigator, was referred to as "the boy", and Anna, as " the girl ", which strangely seemed more close and personal than could have been attained by the constant use of their names.
This may be a rather `old fashioned' book, but it is a wonderful description of desperation, pain and a beautiful sort of reincarnation.
Posted to far-away Burma (now Myanmar) as part of British operations to liberate the country from the Japanese, and with no obvious end to the war in sight, Forrester battles with suicidal tendencies and behaves in an offhand, hostile manner to those around him. Far from taking any interest in Burma, he despises it for its scorching heat and dust.
Things begin to look up when squadron doctor Harris persuades Forrester to join him on a trip to a local village, where friendly folk reside. Here, Forrester meets Anna, a pretty Burmese girl with impeccable English skills and an aristocratic manner. The two are taken with each other, however no sooner has this happened than disaster strikes. Forrester, back out on standard flying operations two days later, is forced to make an emergency landing in the Burmese wilderness due to a technical fault in his plane. He and his two passengers, Blore and Carrington, survive the crash, but are now faced with the seemingly impossible task of making it out of the Burmese desert with little water and no food. Will Blore and Carrington learn to trust Forrester, now that he has found a reason to live? Will the three men make it back to civilisation? No longer wanting to die, Forrester's strength and tenacity are tested like never before.
All in all, a brilliant tale that paints a vivid but fair picture of this Asian country and its people, and one that recounts the strength, bravery and rebirth of one man.
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