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On the Beach by Nevil Shute
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On the Beach (original 1957; edition 1983)

by Nevil Shute

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3,3671181,613 (3.86)269
Member:delta351
Title:On the Beach
Authors:Nevil Shute
Info:Ballantine Books (1983), Edition: 50699, Mass Market Paperback, 278 pages
Collections:Your library
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Work details

On the Beach by Nevil Shute (1957)

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English (114)  Danish (3)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (118)
Showing 1-5 of 114 (next | show all)
Another end-of-the-world book, doesn't have the survival angle of Alas Babylon or the society-turning-into-something-else bent of Earth Abides. Everyone knows they're going to die and they do. The fact that they go about the remainder of their time with grace and humor and dignity only makes the end worse. ( )
  unclebob53703 | Apr 6, 2016 |
One of the few books I've read twice (chose of for a school reading in about 1980). Good stuff. ( )
  ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
A post-apocalyptic book club selection.

What if the world ended in the 1950s?

Well, Nevil Shute thinks everyone would've been in a state of near-total denial.

Nuclear war has happened. A perfect storm of miscommunications, accidents, and the flaring up of old conflicts... The fallout is slowly, inexorably swirling around the globe. In Australia, a bunch of very British citizens (and one American Navy captain) know that everyone North of them is already dead or dying. There's a miniscule hope that predictions about how fast the fallout will dissipate are wrong - but, really, not much of one.

So what do people do? Well, they drink a lot. They're quietly depressed. Some take up suicidal hobbies. But mostly, they pretend it's not going to happen. They garden. They have a lot of babies.

Some people in my book club criticised the characters as not being very well-developed. It's true, they're more illustrations-of-type. It's not a character-driven book, but a philosophical musing on how people deal with the certain knowledge of approaching death.

The degree of denial that Shute posits is, at first, hard to accept. But as it went on, I think he made a case. The mix of fatalism and banality he shows in this small society is well-crafted and illuminating both of the attitudes and fears of the 1950's, and of human psychology in general.

A classic for a reason - I really enjoyed it. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 114 (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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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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