A few weeks ago, Senora O'Blene and Scrobs were discussing various reading options.
Senora is an avid, even compulsive reader, often getting through all sorts of literature in a couple of days, whereas I tend to take much longer and often go back several pages just to get 'things right in my head'!
'A town like Alice' by Nevil Shute was mentioned several times as one of our favourite books, and indeed, a quick foray into 'World of Books' and 'Music Magpie' found a copy, and while we were on, I selected a few more for good measure.
We both went through the former in a few days, and were hooked - for the second time!
(I might have mentioned here, that many years ago, I contracted mumps when in my early twenties and back then the doctor would call around, and it was just as well that he did, as I was immediately confined to bed to avoid the dreaded - er - complications - some of which my flatmate painfully experienced as he just carried on carousing - it was Christmas after all! I read 'A town like Alice' in exactly one day, as I'd refused to move an inch in bed - except for mercy visits - to avoid the impending nasties! I'd never read a book that quickly before and haven't since!
So after collecting my breath after the Alice story, the next ones by Nevil Shute have just got better and better, with 'Round the bend' being excellent,'The Far Country' turning out to be a fantastic, emotional yarn, and just last evening, I finished 'Trustee from the Toolroom', which in my opinion must be one of the best books I've ever read! I was even dreaming about the plot during the only night between starting and finishing the story, and while there was the lingering considered inkling of the outcome, there were so many surprises in the second half that I just couldn't put it down!
So it seems that the worthy booksellers above will have to put up with lots of more packaging, 25% offers being taken up, and hopefully they'll get a few more from Walsall Public Library - marked 15p...
Ah, N.S.Norway, a brilliant engineer himself. I think 'On the Beach is possibly the best and worst (most disturbing) book ever.
Cheers! Tony F.
A few years ago, I inherited a set of Shute novels from my aunt - a voracious reader who worked for an aeronautical engineering firm after the war and heard about him early on from contacts in the industry.
I knew ‘A Town Like Alice’ and ‘On the Beach’ already - I agree with Tony F. about that one! - but was bowled over by the rest too - ‘Trustee From the Toolroom’ included. (I even write a blog post at the time about ‘In the Wet’). The precision and clarity of his writing makes them a joy to read and ‘hooked’ is the only word.
I recommend ‘No Highway’ if you haven’t yet got it (it’s very dated, of course, as all his stuff is - he’s escaped the political correctness mob so far but it’s surely only a matter of time; I wonder, though, what they would make of ‘The Chequerboard’, which tackles the issue of racism head-on). Oh, and a warning; unless you have a heart of stone, don’t read ‘Requiem For a Wren’ on a train unless you are happy for people to see you crying.
I've always liked Nevil Shute. 'Trustee from the Toolroom' is one of a fairly small number of novels I've read more than once. ‘On the Beach' could be a grim read considering the current Ukraine mess. I agree with Macheath too, be careful where you read ‘Requiem For a Wren’ - very sad.
I was wondering about 'On the beach', Tony!
Wasn't there an iconic song with the film? I can't seem to find it, but it maybe have just been another sixties song...
I'l just have to read it eventually I suppose, but thank you for the warning!
Can we have a link to your post about 'In the wet', please Macheath?
I've got 'No Highway' here beside me now, and that was going to be my next one!
Senora O'Blene says that 'Requiem for a wren' will certainly be a sad story, by virtue of its title, so that's after the former!
"The precision and clarity of his writing makes them a joy to read and ‘hooked’ is the only word."
Your statement sums that fabulous story up to a tee - at 15/16ths of an inch!
'Trustee from the Toolroom' is just superb, AK!
I really was 'tearing up' at the first part about the yacht, and felt miserable for some time afterwards...
What I liked/like was/is the 'add-on' bits of the story, which you just cannot see coming!
For ‘write’ read ‘wrote’, obviously - careless typing! As requested:
Not so much about the book as picking up on one of the ideas in it - ie no spoilers here! - and Shute’s application of a superbly analytical mind to politics.
I hope you enjoy ‘No Highway’!
And I made a typo in replying, so here's the real response...!
Thank you Macheath!
'No Highway' is the next one to get some serious reading going - partly because it's right next to me as we speak!
I'm soon to be on Ebay for the others as well; I can't stop now!
'No Highway' wasn't really fiction but more prediction, For Raindeer, read Comet. I think he had some idea about metal fatigue from as far back as the design of the R100 on which he was involved along with Barnes Wallace. They got it right as opposed to the R101 that didn't. The film was quite good for its time.
I am going to have to find all of his books and re-read them...
The film hadn’t really crossed my radar, so to speak, but I came across mention of it when looking up the Comet (v, interesting thanks for the hint, Tony F!)
It amused me that they called the film ‘No Highway in the Sky’, plunging the title from complex metaphor to prosaic literality at a single stroke. I wonder whether this was because they feared that audiences would otherwise be expecting a movie about truckers or speed cops - nothing would surprise me about an industry which filmed the play ‘The Madness of George III’ into ‘The Madness of King George’, mainly to make it clear that it was about royalty but also, in part, in case Americans wondered why they had missed the first two films in the series.
That's very interesting, Tony!
While I'm still reading it, there really is a lot of technical discussion, wound into the story - more than I'd normally expect, so you're probably right!
I'm still only four books in, so will have plenty more for the next year or so!
I haven't even seen the film, MacHeath, and will try and get a copy when I|'ve read the book...
Mybe I should wait a while though, as sometimes film companies massacre a decent story! Senora O'Blene, who's dad was in the RAF, still fumes at the Americanisation of 'The Great Escape'!
'Requiem for a wren' is just heartbreaking...
I finished it last night and had to turn to YouTube to come down off the ceiling!
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