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Pastoral Paperback – January 1, 2000

4.6 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"One of the happiest books which war has called into being" Sunday Times --Publisher --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Nevil Shute Norway was born in London and worked as an aeronautical engineer at Vickers before setting up his own airship company. Worried that his reputation as a fiction writer would damage his engineering career, he wrote without using his surname. He served in both world wars and was a commander in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve in World War II, working on secret projects. After the war he became a full time author completing a fictionalised account of his war time experience in 'Most Secret'. Moving to Australia in 1949 he based seven of his novels against that background including his most successful title On The Beach. This was subsequently a hugely successful film starring Gregory Peck, Antony Perkins and Ava Gardner and became arguably the major after the bomb movie of all time. Shute became one of the top selling authors of the 50s and 60s with wide appeal to a broad international market attracted by strong story lines which were always meticulously researched..

Product Details

  • Paperback: 294 pages
  • Publisher: House of Stratus (January 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184232277X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842322772
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,327,586 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Patrick Shepherd VINE VOICE on May 7, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Nevil Shute seems to be a very underrated author. After his On the Beach and A Town Like Alice, the rest of his works are almost totally ignored by both the critics and the public, which is a pity as almost all of his works are finely written and have something worthwhile to say.

Pastoral was written during WWII, and from a purely British viewpoint, unlike so many of the war books that were written long after the conflict by so many Americans. As such there is a totally different atmosphere to this book, a quietness, an acceptance of the conditions and requirements of the war as just something that is there, part of the daily routine. And it is within this atmosphere that Neville constructs a fine love story between the very experienced bomber pilot Peter Marshal (at age 22!) and a W.A.A.F signals officer, Gervase Robertson.

As perhaps is typical for war-time love stories, the war itself provides the conflict, the friction between the lovers, as Peter is duty-bound to continue flying bombing missions, and Gervase believes her own duties are important to the course of the war, and should not be given up merely to get married. Her decline of Peter's offer of marriage sends Peter into a mental tail-spin, seriously impacting his efficiency as a flyer. How this conflict is resolved and the events that happen because of this conflict form the main portion of this book. Before reaching that point, however, we are treated to a view of English morality and customs of the day, a code that says one mustn't go off alone with a member of the opposite sex, that married woman are expected to keep house, not have jobs, where the woman must defer to the man.
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Format: Hardcover
I have 3 favorite novels which I reread every couple of years. Like old friends, I know that I can always turn to them and be sure of several hours of deep pleasure. This is one of those novels. PASTORAL was written during World War 2 and concerns two young people who are serving in the military, but as the title indicates, this is not your typical war novel. Peter Marshall is a veteran pilot of an RAF Wellington bomber, even though he is still a very young man. The flying scenes are excellent, filled with suspenseful atmosphere and excitement. But when he is not in the air, he is the kind of person who takes delight in the simple pleasures of life, rambling over the countryside and fishing with his crew. And after he meets a lovely WAAF officer, Gervase Robertson, who has just joined the signals staff at his airbase, it doesn't take him long to fall in love for the first time. The love story of these two rather innocent and ordinary young people is as real as you'll find in literature, perfectly tracing the progress of their attraction and growing feeling for each other, all intensified by the immense conflict in which they play their small part. True to that time, this does not mean that they are in bed by the second date--no, these are typical, decent youngsters who accept the idea that that sort of thing must wait until marriage. Gervase does not want to give up her part in the war effort to get married, and the tension begins to affect Peter's flying and his relationship with his crew. As one of the senior officers complains exasperatedly, "The great adventure on this station isn't bombing Germany. They don't think anything of that. Falling in love is the big business here.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
This is, in my opinion, Nevil Shute's best book, surpassing even such justifiably popular titles as "On the Beach" and "A Town like Alice". With restraint and a simple, moving style Nevil Shute brings out the best in human spirit by telling this story of young people rising to the dangers and challenges of war and prevailing through dedication, comradeship and love. Why is a book like this out of print when bookstore shelves are full of stories about addicts, perverts and criminals? We desperately need more people like Nevil Shte's characters to serve as role models.
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Format: Paperback
What is most remarkable about Pastoral is the way it manages to blend love and tragedy in an almost seamless manner. What would have been a rather conventional love story is transformed into something very different by the ever-present risk of death. RAF pilot Peter Marshall and WAAF signals officer Gervase Robinson go through an awkward and sometimes amusing courtship seemingly unconcerned about the fact that each one of his bomber missions over Germany could very easily be his last - indeed, some of the characters we meet during the story are lost over Germany. That they are able to function in a reasonably normal manner in the most terrifyingly abnormal of circusmstances is a tribute to the strength of the human spirit. In a way, this foreshadows Nevil Shute's much later book On the Beach, in which people are able to function day-to-day despite knowing that the world is soon coming to an end. A lesser writer than Shute probably would have made Pastoral heavy-handed and preachy, but there is almost none of that. All in all, a superb book, a truly timeless story despite its setting.
As an aside, the last few paragraphs of the story make me wonder whether it is based on true events.
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