Shute, Nevil. On the Beach. Read by Simon Prebble. New York: Recorded Books, 1991.
Reason read: Nevil Shute was born and died in January; read in his honor.
Preoccupation with The Bomb. Nuclear war. Alphaville wrote Forever Young thinking about the bomb. Randy Newman sneered about dropping the bomb…boom goes London. Shute takes it one step further. The nuclear bombs of World War III have been dropped and as far as anyone knows, the entire northern hemisphere has been completely wiped out. There’s not a soul alive above the equator. It’s only a matter of time before winds blow the deadly radioactive fallout to New Zealand and Australia. For naval officers Peter Holmes and Dwight Towers stationed in Melbourne it is their job to pilot a submarine to the northern hemisphere to seek out survivors and make predictions about their own mortality. Will the deadly dust reach them in a year? A month? A week? No matter the time frame for surely they will all die. It’s a bleak read, there’s no doubt about that, but the characters are worth it. For Dwight Towers, originally from Connecticut, knowing he will never see his wife and children again is a hard pill to swallow. For young and beautiful Moira Davidson drinking her denial is the best policy. Others seek solace in the suicide pill or carrying on as if nothing tragic is going to happen. I found myself asking what would I do in this situation?
Author fact: Shute has his own fan webpage here.
Book trivia: When On the Beach was first published in 1957 it was met with sour reviews. Too depressing they all said.
Nancy said: Nevil is “probably best known for On the Beach” (p 198).
BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the obviously called “Nevil Shute: Too Good To Miss” (p 198).
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