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A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute

A Town Like Alice (original 1950; edition 1976)

by Nevil Shute

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2,8531112,960 (4.07)367
Title:A Town Like Alice
Authors:Nevil Shute
Info:Pan Books (1976), Paperback
Collections:Your library

Work details

A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute (1950)

  1. 00
    The Promise of Rain by Donna Milner (jayne_charles)
    jayne_charles: More POW hell
  2. 00
    In the Wet by Nevil Shute (Booksloth)
  3. 00
    The Flamboya Tree: Memories of a Mother's Wartime Courage by Clara Kelly (whymaggiemay)
    whymaggiemay: Though fiction, the war experiences of Jean Padgett are based in fact from the Island of Sumatra, and gives a good view of what was going on on other islands in the Pacific.

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» See also 367 mentions

English (106)  Danish (4)  German (1)  All languages (111)
Showing 1-5 of 106 (next | show all)
I am not much for romance stories but this is an exception.

The story is told through the voice of Noel, the manager of Jean Paige's trust who in a platonic way is in love with her. Then there is the story between Joe and Jean who meet as prisoners of war in Malaya in WWII, separate and when they find that they are both alive after the war seek each other out and start their lives together.

Such a refreshing, interesting read, it won't take long to read as you will be unable to put it down. This is my second Nevil Shute book and definitely won't be the last ( )
  Lynxear | Nov 8, 2018 |
A good read. A good, solid story with some drama and good characters. Not sure it'll stay with me for long, but I'm glad I read it. ( )
  meredk | Sep 8, 2018 |
This is such a well written book and compelling story. ( )
  melanieklo | Jul 25, 2018 |
A very strange book. There's the story referenced by the title, as a young English woman works to build a town "like Alice" (Springs), in Australia, starting from a Gold Rush ghost town. But two-thirds of the book are the backstory of that, how and why she's there and able to take the actions she does. It starts with a lawyer setting up a will for an old man; the war (WWII) happens, several of the potential legatees die, the old man dies and the lawyer seeks out the remaining legatee, a young woman. She tells him the story of her experiences in the war, marching as one of a group of women and children all over Malaysia because no Japanese officer wanted the responsibility of holding the group of prisoners. Now that she has this legacy (a comfortable living), she wants to go back and help the village that finally gave them succor and a place to live. When she gets back to Malaysia, she finds that a horrific experience she had - meeting an Australian man, also a prisoner, who tried to help her and her group and was whipped to death for it - didn't end the way she thought; the Australian didn't (quite) die, and was freed when the Allies took back the island. So of course she goes to find him, and find out if their connection was just because of the war or something more. There are a lot of complications, not least the fact that the only town near the cattle station where he's the manager (and doing a good job at it) is pretty close to dead. So (and we're finally up to the "real" story here) she works to upgrade it - to give the young women work to do and a salary, and things to spend it on, instead of running off to the city as soon as they're old enough (and once there's young women living there, there will be no problem attracting young men...). It's a very simple story with lots of curlicues and complications; most of the story is told from the point of view of the lawyer rather than either Jean or Joe, which puts it all at a little distance. It's very slow-paced - the closest thing to an action scene is a forty-mile horseback ride - and very volubly told; every character talks a lot (even, or especially, Joe, who we are told talks very slowly, in a Queensland drawl). I can think of all kinds of reasons why I shouldn't like it, but I did. I enjoyed reading it, and I suspect I will reread several times. ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Apr 25, 2018 |
"The Legacy" is the American publication title for "A Town Like Alice." This love story takes place during and after WWII, and is set in England, Malaysia, and Australia. The story is told via an interesting use of "flashbacks." The idea for the story was derived, in part, from a true incident involving Dutch women who were taken prisoner by the Japanese. There have been at least two movie versions made of this book. We favor the MasterPiece Theater version starring Bryan Brown.

KIRKUS REVIEW: the kernel of the plot being based on actual fact-of a group of women war prisoners taken by the Japanese in Sumatra, marching for months back and forth, and finally making their own terms with native villagers, and working in the rice fields for the war's duration. Shute has shifted his setting to Malaya, and made his heroine, Jean Paget, leader of the group, and written around his nucleus tale, a fictional romance between the not-so-young Jean, and an Australian "ringer"- cattleman-fellow prisoner, who was crucified by the Japanese for stealing some chickens, and who miraculously escaped with his life. After years of separation, each assuming the other inaccessible, they are- following a period of abortive attempts to meet again-reunited in Australia, where Jean is working out a pattern of life at a ghost town back station in the Australian hinterland, and where their marriage is an integral part of the rebirth of the town and the community they create. Unique setting, very interesting situations, and a good love story- but as the lawyer, acting as trustee for a legacy left to Jean, tells the story, the reader rarely gets below the surface of the characters.
  MasseyLibrary | Apr 17, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 106 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (30 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nevil Shuteprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bailey, RobinNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hunt, NeilNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true;
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.
— W. B. Yeats
First words
James MacFadden died in March 1905 when he was forty-seven years old; he was riding in the Driffield Point-to-Point.
On the publication of this book I expect to be accused of falsifying history, especially in regard to the march and death of the homeless women prisoners. (Author's Note)
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"A Town Like Alice" was originally published as "The Legacy".
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345353749, Mass Market Paperback)

"A harrowing, exciting, and in the end very satisfying war romance."
A TOWN LIKE ALICE tells of a young woman who miraculously survived a Japanese "death march" in World War II, and of an Australian soldier, also a prisoner of war, who offered to help her--even at the cost of his life....

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:23 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A novel told partly in flashbacks about a girl's search for the Australian she met in Malaya during World War II. "A harrowing, exciting, and in the end very satisfying war romance. A Town Like Alice tells of a young woman who miraculously survived a Japanese "death march" in World War II, and of an Australian soldier, also a prisoner of war, who offered to help her--even at the cost of his life.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 13 descriptions

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