‘A Town Like Alice’ by Nevil Shute

My Review (5 stars out of 5)

(Audio Book)

Twenty-year-old Jean Paget is captured by the Japanese while working in Malaya during World War Two. Along with a group of women and children she is forced to march through the jungle while the enemy figures out what to do with their prisoners. Meeting some Australian prisoners, one of the men, Joe Harman, steals food for the women and is subsequently tortured by the Japanese. After the war, Jean tracks Joe to Australia and they plan to transform a small outback town into a thriving community.

Nevil Shute worked in aviation while writing novels in his spare time. He often wrote about the war, aviation and engineering as well as stories of class and social barriers. Although A Town Like Alice takes a little time to get going, it soon grabbed my attention. Ably narrated by Robin Bailey, the story is told from the point of view of a solicitor, we are introduced to the heroine, Jean Paget, when she comes into some money left by a distant relative. As Jean gets to know the man who is to be the trustee of her inheritance, she begins to tell him the story of her adventures in Malaya, including her friendship with Sergeant Joe Harman. Considering what to do with her money, Jean decides she want to build a well for the women of one of the villages who looked after her. Setting off to oversee the work, she discovers that Joe is alive, and goes to Australia to track him down.

Some of Shute’s language might be termed offensive by modern readers, but as with many books written during the 1950s, it reflects the society of the times. In all other respects, A Town Like Alice is an enjoyable book about ordinary people thrown together in a difficult situation.

Back to the Blog

  6 comments for “‘A Town Like Alice’ by Nevil Shute

  1. 25/09/2021 at 8:37 PM

    After reading this I will have to find my old copy and read it again. I loved this book. Thank you for reminding me how good it is.

    Like

  2. 25/09/2021 at 6:02 PM

    A great review, Colin. I think I must read this.

    Like

  3. 25/09/2021 at 3:51 PM

    I read this book just a couple of years ago. The characters were so compelling that I didn’t want to put it down.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: