Monday, May 12, 2008


Title: Orient Express
Author: Graham Greene

A few weeks back I was in the mood for a romantic adventure on a train. Graham Greene does foreign adventure, and he wrote a book about a train – Orient Express. So I checked it out from the library, hopes high.

It wasn’t even worth the $1.35 in late fees.

Basically, a cast of idiosyncratic characters interacts on a train. The problem is that none of them have the personality of a sponge. (Really, Sponge Bob is vastly superior.) Even the two noblest have irksome moments. The Socialist revolutionary is a melancholy, self-obsessed moper, and the innocent choir girl decides to sleep with a stranger because he buys her a train ticket when she’s sick (because, she figures, good girls are expected to pay back men who are kind to them). Imperfect characters are fine, but when they’re also boring and about as intelligent as the lint you pull from a drier, I lose interest.

Yeah, and it was published 1930-ish, and reads very dated. And there’s a vague streak of potential anti-Semitism that could raise modern eyebrows (lots of talk about the characteristics of the Jewish race).

So basically, neither substantive nor entertaining nor full of good moral lessons. I skimmed the action-packed climax at the end. This supposedly was the most exhilarating part of the book, but I just couldn’t be bothered any more.

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posted by Elizabeth at 10:16 PM


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