Many years ago I read a small book “A Town Like Alice” written by Nevil Shute Norway.
I did not know anything about him at that time and nobody told me anything about the book. I started to read it and finished it in several hours. The book was terrific!
I instantly came to conclusion that the author was a brilliant writer who loved people very much.
Nevil Shute Norway (1899 – 1960) was a popular British and then Australian novelist and a successful aeronautical engineer. He emigrated to Australia in 1950 and settled with his wife and two daughters on farmland at Langwarrin. Shute died in Melbourne in 1960.
I liked “A Town Like Alice” so much that immediately started search for other Shute’s novels. I found many of them and enjoyed reading all of them.
However, the strongest impressions I got from “Pied Piper”, “Requiem for a Wren”, “On the Beach”.
Each of this books examines human nature, what is the meaning of life, what is love, and what is duty. They are very warm uplifting books despite the fact that they describe tragedies of war.
“On the Beach” is the Shute’s best-known novel. It depicts Melbourne, whose population is awaiting death from the effects of an atomic war.
Here is an excerpt from the introduction to the book:
“Nevil Shute’s ‘On The Beach’ is a classic for good reason. Shute takes the most horrific event one can imagine – a worldwide nuclear event – and then turns the microscope on it, focusing in on just a few ordinary people who must wait for death as it drifts over to their hemisphere. We see military personnel, housewives, businessmen, and more. They come alive because they are just like you and me and the people next door.
Shute’s very great accomplishment here is to examine how each of the characters deals with their certain death. Everyone knows they’ll die eventually; these characters have the difficulty of knowing that death will arrive soon, and that it will be slow and agonizing. What do they do? Each reacts differently and the humanity and humility with which some of the characters make their choices is startlingly powerful. Especially in a time when the world seems so uncertain, so cruel, this is an important book to read-or re-read if you picked it up years ago. Prepare yourself for a powerfully moving experience.”
“On the Beach” published in 1957 and became an international bestseller.
I wonder why the author who created many anti-war books and warned people about danger of atomic war and nuclear proliferation did not get a Nobel prize in literature or a Nobel Peace prize. I also wonder why Shute’s books were not reprinted for a very long time. It seems to me that the main reason is that for many years we lived in the atmosphere of denials.
It is time to face realities and to do something about them!
Please read “On the Beach”. It’s a must reading today!