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On the Beach by Nevil Shute
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On the Beach (original 1957; edition 1998)

by Nevil Shute

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3,176991,762 (3.84)245
Member:sandydorion
Title:On the Beach
Authors:Nevil Shute
Info:Lightyear Pr (1998), Hardcover, 250 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:**1/2
Tags:None

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On the Beach by Nevil Shute (1957)

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English (95)  Danish (3)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (99)
Showing 1-5 of 95 (next | show all)
This book written in 1957, is a futuristic, dystopic, post apocalyptic story set in 1963. Even though it really is "history" now, this book reflects the thoughts of the time following the explosion of nuclear bombs at the end of WWII and the following cold war and it could have really happened just the way Nevil Shute explains it. There is a short war which has everyone blowing up Cobalt bombs all over the northern hemisphere and all have died in the north. The radiation is creeping into the southern hemisphere. I thought this one was going to end well, I thought I had read that in someone's review. But no, this is a heartbreaking, tear wrenching story of the end of human life. The author is a little bit optimistic that human nature will be strong and good as it faces its demise. I liked how he projects hope even in the absence of hope. I think human nature does like to cling to hope in most cases and use denial to avoid thinking about the bad.
  Kristelh | Jun 27, 2015 |
I listened to this on Radio 4 recently and decided to re-read the book. It's very dated, and I'm sure people nowadays wouldn't react in such a stiff upper lip way - you'd get a whole lot of suicides as soon as people realised death was inevitable and probably lots of rioting. And I'm not so sure that Australia would manage to stay out of a global nuclear war. A very good read though. ( )
  mlfhlibrarian | Apr 30, 2015 |
Most of us have played the mental game, "What would I do if I only had a few months to live?" On the Beach postulates a variation: "What would you do if you knew the entire world had only a few months to live?" You would be faced with the knowledge that not only you would be gone, but also everyone you loved and everything you knew. No memory would remain that any of you had ever existed.

The setting is Australia. About a year previously, a month-long nuclear war wiped out everyone in the Northern Hemisphere, and though no explosions occurred south of the equator, the resulting radiation is slowly swallowing the southern latitudes. How do the folks in the novel react? They seem to hit only two notes on Kubler-Ross' grief scale--with either denial or sober acceptance.

Mostly, they carry on as they always had, making the best of their remaining days as they know the end is near. The book is punctuated by a number of ordinary conversations, e.g. about planting flowers, getting milk for the baby, keeping up life at the country club. When talk moves to the war, people mostly express puzzlement. Nobody really comprehends what it was all about: "It all started with Albania." But that's exactly the point. There is a backstory here that none of us really knows. People moved by nationalism or ideology set this disaster in place, and what does it all matter now? They themselves are all dead, and soon all these good common folks who just wanted to live their lives in peace will be dead too.

So incredibly sad. ( )
  kvrfan | Apr 25, 2015 |
I read this ages ago, of course, but although I remember it too poorly to claim it here as read, I'm confident it's worth a re-read.
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
It is the 1960s (the book was written in 1957) in Australia. The “short war” was just over a month long. The result of that war: radiation all over the northern hemisphere that has killed everyone. That radiation is making its way south to envelope the planet.

It was good. Most of the book, I'd actually rate “ok”, but the end really picked up, I thought, as the characters knew the end was coming. What would you do with the last months, weeks, and days of your life? I didn't like two of the main characters: Dwight and Moira. Well, I didn't mind Dwight as much, but I really didn't like Moira, so I wasn't nearly as interested in them. I liked Peter, Mary and Jennifer much more. But, there seemed to be more focus on Dwight and Moira, unfortunately for me. The ending upped my rating just a touch, though. ( )
  LibraryCin | Mar 31, 2015 |
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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
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:06:26 -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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