Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.


A Town Like Alice (1950)

by Nevil Shute

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,6621363,295 (4.04)458
"A tale of love and war, follows its enterprising heroine from Malayan jungle during World War II to the rugged Australian outback." -- Cover, p.4.
  1. 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.
  2. 00
    In the Wet by Nevil Shute (Booksloth)
  3. 00
    The Promise of Rain by Donna Milner (jayne_charles)
    jayne_charles: More POW hell
  4. 00
    Evidence Not Seen: A Woman's Miraculous Faith in the Jungles of World War II by Darlene Deibler Rose (CherylLonski)
    CherylLonski: One is a work of fiction, the other is a biographical account. One author is male, the other female. One British, one American. Yet the stories intersect in interesting ways in their telling of a painful time in world history.

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 458 mentions

English (131)  Danish (4)  German (1)  All languages (136)
Showing 1-5 of 131 (next | show all)
The movie is excellent as well. This book is based on a true story. ( )
  Eurekas | Apr 29, 2023 |
I had never heard of the author and assumed the book was new. The book was new, the story wasn’t new it first came out in 1950. Predictable to a degree but so well told it was a pleasure to read such wonderful writing.
A woman who is part of a group of women and children who are first prisoners and then cast adrift in Malaya during WWII. The woman comes into some money and wants to make some changes.
In addition to taking place in Malaya, it also takes place in London, and NE Australia.
Excellent book. ( )
  zmagic69 | Mar 31, 2023 |
This was a very touching story. ( )
  bangerlm | Jan 18, 2023 |
Very good novel about a woman caught by the Japanese near Singapore and an Australian man who tries to help her. ( )
  kslade | Dec 8, 2022 |
Published in 1950, this modern classic is a story of a smart and capable woman, Jean Paget, as told by her solicitor and trustee, Noel Strachan, from the 1930’s to 1950’s. She is the heir to a trust established by an uncle, which is administered by Strachan’s firm. He becomes not only her solicitor but her friend. She eventually tells him about her time in Malaya (now part of Malaysia) during WWII, when she and a group of women with children were marched hundreds of miles to various villages, each Japanese leader sending them on to the next to avoid having to feed them. They suffer tremendous hardships, but eventually find a way to remain in one station until the war ends. While there, Jean meets an Australian soldier who tries to help them, to his peril. She returns to England, meets with Strachan, and travels back to Malaya and on to Australia, where the bulk of the novel transpires. It provides a vivid picture of what life was like in the Australian Outback at that time.

Themes include a woman’s place in society, entrepreneurship, and renewal of life after war. The attitudes of the period are in evidence in racial issues and gender roles; however, the author is attempting to show that these views are false. For example, Jean, being a woman, is assumed to be incompetent with money, but she proves to be an astute businesswoman. She also figures out a way to improve the lives of the women of the Malayan village that helped her group during the war.

The characters are likeable and convincing. The romantic elements of the story are held in the background and do not take over the narrative. I think it might have been even more effective if Jean had told her own story, as we are getting information second-hand, which keeps the reader at a bit of distance. I am not sure how our narrator got information about her love life, which she surely would not have mentioned at the level of detail portrayed (or perhaps this is how Strachan imagined it took place?) He obviously cares for her deeply. I think this book will appeal to those who enjoy stories of international travel, altruism, or strong women.
( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 131 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (30 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nevil Shuteprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bailey, RobinNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hunt, NeilNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lomax, EricIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
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)
[Introduction] I was born in 1919.
The soldiers ... came to the evacuees sitting numbly in the veranda of the accounts office.... they were ordered to give up all fountain-pens and wrist-watches and rings.... Jean lost her watch and had her bag searched for a fountain-pen, but she had packed it in her luggage.
Ayer Penchis ... was a Malay village which housed the labour for a number of rubber plantations in the vicinity. The latex-processing plant of one stood near at hand and by it was a sort of palm thatch barn, used normally for smoking sheets of the raw rubber hung on horizontal laths.
"People who spent the war in prison camps have written a lot of books about what a bad time they had.... They don't know what it was like, not being in a camp."
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
"A Town Like Alice" was originally published as "The Legacy".
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


"A tale of love and war, follows its enterprising heroine from Malayan jungle during World War II to the rugged Australian outback." -- Cover, p.4.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Current Discussions


Popular covers

Quick Links


Average: (4.04)
0.5 1
1 9
1.5 5
2 26
2.5 5
3 139
3.5 64
4 332
4.5 55
5 287

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 197,818,879 books! | Top bar: Always visible