Reading Nevil Shute

A portrait of Nevil Shute Norway from the Nevil Shute Norway Foundation website...

A portrait of Nevil Shute Norway from the Nevil Shute Norway Foundation website. Click on the portrait to visit that website.

Some authors, over time, weave themselves into your reading life! When I was in high school, I read a book by Nevil Shute called On the Beach, a story about nuclear war. I remember only a few details of the story after so many years, but I vividly remember the powerful emotional impact it had on me. Then, years later, when my children were young, the Hubby and I enjoyed watching a series on Masterpiece Theatre called A Town Like Alice, based on a book by Nevil Shute. Again, it had a powerful emotional impact on me and I still consider it one of my favorites from many years of stories we’ve watched on Masterpiece Theatre.

Last month, I discovered the audiobook of A Town Like Alice was available through Audible. I downloaded it and enjoyed listening to it while knitting, and was delighted to discover how much I enjoy Nevil Shute’s writing and storytelling. This was an amazing story of love, survival, resilience, and hope during and after World War II. When I finished it, I didn’t want to leave his storytelling presence, so I downloaded another of his books. Pied Piper, the story of a 70-year-old Englishman who was able to lead 7 young children to safety during World War II, also captured my heart and I had a hard time taking off the earphones, listening to it in record time!

So over my lifetime of reading, Nevil Shute has “visited” me numerous times. Each time, I have appreciated that he tells his stories with honesty and emotional integrity; that his characters are ordinary people thrust into extraordinary times and who meet those challenges with courage and kindness. He reminds me that one person can make a difference.

I look forward to reading my next book by Nevil Shute, and welcome his stories of good and caring people into the fabric of my reading life.

Here is the list of Nevil Shute’s books.  I am slowly reading through the list, and although I haven’t reviewed all of the ones I’ve read so far, please click on any that are hyperlinked to read my reviews.

Red = Link to my review
Blue = Read but not reviewed yet

  1. Marazan (1926)
  2. Mysterious Aviator/So Disdained (1928)
  3. Lonely Road (1932)
  4. Kindling/Ruined City (1938)
  5. What Happened to the Corbetts (1939)
  6. An Old Captivity (1940)
  7. Landfall (1940)
  8. Pied Piper (1942)
  9. Pastoral (1944)
  10. Most Secret (1945)
  11. An Old Captivity/Vinland the Good (1946)
  12. The Chequer Board (1947)
  13. No Highway (1948)
  14. A Town Like Alice (1950)
  15. Round the Bend (1951)
  16. The Far Country (1952)
  17. In the Wet (1953)
  18. Slide Rule (1954)
  19. The Breaking Wave/Requiem for a Wren (1955)
  20. Beyond the Black Stump (1956)
  21. On the Beach (1957)
  22. The Rainbow and the Rose (1958)
  23. Trustee from the Toolroom (1960)
  24. Stephen Morris/Pilotage (1961)


4 thoughts on “Reading Nevil Shute

  1. Robin Post author

    Les, I wondered about that as I listened to this audiobook. It’s one that I think is better to listen to because of the accents and cultural nuances of spoken storytelling.


  2. Nan

    I am such a fan. There’s a newsletter you can get from here:
    There are some really avid fans out there! In A Town Like Alice, I love the radio communications. In the tv version, I think I fell in love a little with Bryan Brown. :<)) I have Pied Piper on my shelf, recommended to me by Thomas (My Porch blog). Other Shute books I've read and loved: Beyond the Black Stump, Trustee From the Toolroom (3 or 4 times), Ordeal, Pastoral. I've read only two since starting the blog: The Far Country ( and an odd one called An Old Captivity ( I've never read On The Beach – I think it is a very different book from his others, and the theme never interested me. Shute would be one of my desert island authors.



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