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On the beach by Nevil Shute
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On the beach (original 1957; edition 1966)

by Nevil Shute

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,3171151,638 (3.87)266
Member:sallysetsforth
Title:On the beach
Authors:Nevil Shute
Info:Pan Books (1966), Mass Market Paperback
Collections:Your library, Read, Second-hand, Storage
Rating:
Tags:Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Science Fiction, Australian Fiction, Setting Australia

Work details

On the Beach by Nevil Shute (1957)

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» See also 266 mentions

English (111)  Danish (3)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (115)
Showing 1-5 of 111 (next | show all)
Back in the 60s, we were all sure that atomic war was just around the corner, and this novel provided one possible outcome of that potential conflagration. So yeah, maybe it's a bit dated now, but it still tells a good story (and a necessary one). Don't look for a happy ending. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
A friend reminded me about this book. I read it in school. It terrified me and made me cry. I can't rate this book. I hated it at the time but read to the end. From a person who remembers the whole 'when the siren goes you hide under your desk at school' thing and the fear us kids lived with, if you are a nuclear holocaust wannabe reader this is a book for you.
  Greymowser | Jan 23, 2016 |
I was supposed to read this in high school, but didn't. Now, 26 years later, I have! And I'm glad I did! What a bleak, yet wonderfully written book! A group of people in Australia have to live knowing that they are going to die in a few months as a result of nuclear war. Some drink, others drive with reckless abandon, and still others plant gardens for the coming year, that will never come. I don't know what I would do, but I'm glad I read this before my time is up! Better late than never! ( )
  Stahl-Ricco | Jan 22, 2016 |
This was a tough book for me to get through. It was interesting but boy was it depressing. Amazing that it was written in the '50s. I liked the way everyone had a different way to cope with the reality but still just a little to grim for me. ( )
  Charlie-Ravioli | Jan 18, 2016 |
Published in 1957, On the Beach is particularly relevant in modern times in the ever present global conflicts and every country's refusal to rule out nuclear strikes. The world is in turmoil following a nuclear war in the Northern Hemisphere and the air is polluted with radioactive fallout killing anyone it touches within a matter of days. As the earth's air currents slowly force the radiation South, this story concentrates on how southern Australian's react to their impending death, focusing mainly on five main characters. We are introduced to Peter and Mary, a young family; Dwight, a US navy captain; Moira, a young woman who drinks too much; and Julian, her cousin. They each have different coping mechanisms with how they deal with their eventual death.

This novel may feel somewhat dated in the portrayal of its characters and their stoicism in the face of adversity, desperate hope, and resignation to the inevitable. The total self destruction of the human race would probably be much more horrible than the way it's portrayed in this book. It seems unbelievable that an entire community of people would face death with such an orderly sense of denial and detachment. I'm positive there would be looting and chaos in the streets if this had been written today. However, none of this detracts from the building hopelessness toward the inevitable conclusion. I found this was a book with a message: to raise awareness of the dangers of a nuclear war at a time when the costs of one were poorly understood. It continues to stay my mind long after I've finished reading. It's a timely novel and one that is both chilling and captivating.

I took the opportunity when I was done with the book to watch the 1959 film starring Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire and Anthony Perkins. I enjoyed having the benefit of more of the back story via the novel, but the film had a much more emotional impact for me than the book. I highly recommend them both.
( )
  Olivermagnus | Jan 17, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 111 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nevil Shuteprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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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 4 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)

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