Tuesday, February 22, 2011

More from Nick in Saigon

Inspecting the contents of the library in the old presidential palace in Saigon, this morning Nicko writes: “The palace was designed by a French trained Vietnamese architect Ngô Viet Thu, who somehow survived the war and its aftermath, and only died quite recently. It’s all very 1961, and untouched. Quite fashionable actually. It has a Monash University or Canberra feel. The evil President Diem was assassinated before it was finished, so I’m not sure whether these books were his, or those of his successor, but whoever it was was reading Airport, and had an interest in Henry James. I see a title by Graham Greene, but I don’t think it’s The Quiet American. The cafe in which some of the action takes place in that novel is now a Gloria Jeans coffee emporium. Depressing.”

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