Saturday, July 30, 2011

Heaven by George Herbert


O who will show me those delights on high?
                            Echo.         I.
Thou Echo, thou art mortall, all men know.
                            Echo.         No.
Wert thou not born among the trees and leaves?
                            Echo.         Leaves.
And are there any leaves, that still abide?
                            Echo.         Bide.
What leaves are they? impart the matter wholly.
                            Echo.         Holy.
Are holy leaves the Echo then of blisse?
                            Echo.         Yes.
Then tell me, what is that supreme delight?
                            Echo.         Light.
Light to the minde : what shall the will enjoy?
                            Echo.         Joy.
But are there cares and businesse with the pleasure?
                            Echo.         Leisure.
Light, joy, and leisure ; but shall they persever?
                            Echo.         Ever.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011


Normally I am quite keen on books about Vietnam, but this book is unfortunately a disappointment. I think it will make a better film than a book and without doubt a film will appear.

On the plus side the book shows that there are many issues that have not gone away, racial tensions, arrogant leaders, misunderstanding of the enemy. This book goes for the 'war is hell' angle, and it goes for it big style. It goes for it so hard, that I found the writer pompous and over-zealous. Part of me suspects that it could be a fake and that the author will reveal this at some point in the future with the aim of shocking the readers who are loving it. The writing style is incredibly bad, the irrational futility of war is over-played and then over-played even more. There must have been something good in it because I read all 600 pages of it but in parts it was dreadfully slow, with whole chapters of the characters preaching about the futility of war, religion, racial problems ...

I am willing to accept that it is possible that some vietnam vet who has got into religion has written this book as an act of 'confession is good for the soul' but I think I am being generous. 

I have no doubt the film version will be better but if anyone is contemplating reading it - don't believe the raving reviews, I think the reviews are fake, there is no way this could be better than Hemingway.