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Today's quote:

Friday, November 11, 2022

The Purple Plain


I've been in love with Burma and its people ever since my life-changing "Burmese days" in 1975. No wonder I pounce on anything I can find to remind me of that wonderful time in Rangoon which so much changed my life and made me the person I am today.

H. E. Bates, better known for his "The Darling Buds of May", spent some time in Burma and India in 1945 with the aim of writing about the Burmese war for American readers. After returning to England he heard a story about a pilot who, having lost his wife to a German bomb while on honeymoon, as a consequence had become "a much-decorated hero by the dubious method of trying to get himself killed". It provided the spark that prompted Bates to start working on three 'Asian novels', one of which was "The Purple Plain.

In the novel, Forrester, commander at an air station on the "purple plain" of Burma, loses the will to live, but regains it upon meeting a young Burmese woman, Anna, who has passed through her own wartime trauma. He survives a plane crash, rescues a fellow pilot, and is finally reunited with Anna. It is a tale of human courage and endurance in the face of tremendous odds, and it was certainly “something different” for Bates. The book was published in late November 1947, and in 1954 the story was filmed starring Gregory Peck and Win Min Than.

Whether you want to watch the movie or read the book, now you can do both - click here.

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