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On the Beach by Nevil Shute
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On the Beach (original 1957; edition 2010)

by Nevil Shute (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,8091371,986 (3.87)322
Member:gregvogl
Title:On the Beach
Authors:Nevil Shute (Author)
Info:Vintage (2010), Edition: 1, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:fiction

Work details

On the Beach by Nevil Shute (1957)

  1. 101
    Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank (alaskabookworm)
  2. 91
    The Road by Cormac McCarthy (weener, Navarone)
  3. 51
    The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (Simone2)
  4. 41
    A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr. (lisanicholas)
    lisanicholas: Another post-apocalyptic story, Miller's Canticle takes place centuries after nuclear war destroys the world's civilizations, and a new civilization has arisen from the ruins.
  5. 32
    The Last Ship by William Brinkley (goddesspt2)
  6. 11
    The Death of Grass by John Christopher (KayCliff)
  7. 00
    Kalki by Gore Vidal (Waldstein)
    Waldstein: Another end-of-the-world story. Less plausible but more terrifying. Far better written and far more entertaining than Mr Shute's mediocre and massively boring novel.
  8. 00
    On the Beach [2000 film] by Russell Mulcahy (Waldstein)
    Waldstein: Free interpretation with lots of new material. Vast improvement on the novel. More dramatic plot, more interesting characters, more bleakness in the end. As intense, powerful and gripping as Mr Shute's mediocre original never is.
  9. 12
    Forbidden Area by Pat Frank (BeckyJG)
  10. 01
    Level 7 (Library of American Fiction) by Mordecai Roshwald (weener)
  11. 01
    In the Wet by Nevil Shute (Booksloth)
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» See also 322 mentions

English (129)  Danish (3)  French (2)  Hebrew (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (136)
Showing 1-5 of 129 (next | show all)
Nevil Shute's post-apocalyptic 1957 novel On the Beach is surprisingly powerful and affecting given the author's mediocre writing style and the mostly mundane day-to-day events that comprise the narrative, albeit against an extraordinary backdrop. A nuclear war has devastated the Northern Hemisphere, and as the novel begins, life continues in Australia, mankind's last remaining outpost, but the radioactive cloud creeps slowly southward, giving its inhabitants approximately nine months to live. The residents carry on with their lives in the face of approaching doom. The submarine captain and his crew perform their assigned missions and tasks, as expected. All have their own individual way of coping with the unimaginable circumstances and the inevitable end that's closing in. Ultimately, this memorable and deeply moving novel simply spotlights the fortitude of ordinary people in an extraordinary situation beyond their control. ( )
  ghr4 | Jan 15, 2019 |
Although it has a novel concept, this novel doesn't pull it off with the intensity that it deserves. ( )
  DanielSTJ | Dec 18, 2018 |
People of Australia are just waiting to die from the fallout of a massive world war. There is no hope of survival, they don't even try. This is a stirring, eerily believable short work by Nevil Shute. The main characters are a US submarine commander, Dwight Towers, and his counterpart, lt. commander Peter Holmes, an Australian. Towers has survived by virtue of being out to sea at the time of the war, Holmes is a married man with a wife and daughter. These men maintain their military personae to the end and are engaged in measuring radiation levels and other useless research, which they recognize as useless even as they carry their orders out. ( )
  buffalogr | Nov 5, 2018 |
Good read. ( )
  annbury | Aug 21, 2018 |
I think I tried to read this book about 20 years ago. I like post-nuclear war type novels but nothing seemed to happen in this book. Of course, I wanted action, trauma and survival.... and there is none in this book.

People of Australia are just waiting to die from the fallout of a massive world war. There is no hope of survival, they don't even try. They simply accept their fate and try to live their lives as normally as possible. This is1963 and you can see it in their mannerisms... Smoking in a submarine, in a vehicle workshop?? Seems stupid to me as I read it but smoking was socially acceptable back then.

It is a hard book to explain as you get caught up in their daily lives, coping with shortages, following routine. No debauchery, a few drunks in the streets in town with everyone is so darned nice to each other. One flaw in the writing was that often in a chapter you would be reading along and the scene would change without any indication of a change... that is there was no line space between scenes to tell the warn the reader. As a result you become confused as the dialog stopped making sense until you realize the characters had changed. Perhaps this was just in my book but if it was universally written this way it was a poor style in the writing.

But is an interesting read now that I am older to appreciate it. It is a bit poly-annish. Maybe it could be like that waiting for the inevitable death by radiation. I suppose it was the sheep-like nature of the book that bothered me... no one wanted to survive or tried to. ( )
  Lynxear | Aug 1, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 129 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nevil Shuteprimary authorall editionscalculated
Powers, Richard M.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prebble, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river...

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

--T.S. Eliot
Dedication
First words
Lieutenant Commander Peter Holmes of the Royal Australian Navy woke soon after dawn.
Quotations
"I couldn't bear to - to just stop doing things and do nothing. You might as well die now and get it over." ... "I'd like to do things right, up to the end."
As time passed, the radioactivity would pass also ... these streets and houses would be habitable again ... The human race was to be wiped out and the world made clean again for wiser occupants."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
A very serious book, intending to give warning - how easily such total international destruction could happen, and how catastrophic the consequences. Portrays the last living humans, in Australia, awaiting their certain approaching end.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345311485, Mass Market Paperback)

"The most shocking fiction I have read in years. What is shocking about it is both the idea and the sheer imaginative brilliance with which Mr. Shute brings it off."
THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
They are the last generation, the innocent victims of an accidental war, living out their last days, making do with what they have, hoping for a miracle. As the deadly rain moves ever closer, the world as we know it winds toward an inevitable end....

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:44 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

A novel about the survivors of an atomic war, who face an inevitable end as radiation poisoning moves toward Australia from the North. The most shocking fiction I have read in years. What is shocking about it is both the idea and the sheer imaginative brilliance with which Mr. Shute brings it off. They are the last generation, the innocent victims of an accidental war, living out their last days, making do with what they have, hoping for a miracle.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 11 descriptions

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