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Pied Piper (Vintage International) Paperback – August 24, 2010


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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage International
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (August 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307474011
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307474018
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #542,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

 "Pied Piper is the work of a master storyteller. . . . It piles up dramatic force with quiet realism. . . . A novel for more than one reading." —The New York Times

“A novelist of intelligent and engaging quality, deservedly popular…. Nevil Shute was, in brief, the sort of novelist who genuinely touches the imagination and feeling.” —The Times (London)
 

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7 1.5-hour cassettes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
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4 star
18%
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4%
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See all 89 customer reviews
Pied Piper is one of Nevil Shute's greatest novels.
Rex Thomas
I was amazed that the movie has not been put on VHS or DVD.
C. A. Luster
The characters are all very interesting and well drawn.
Finbar O'toole

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By James P. Hunt on April 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
In college I went to a used book store to buy Shute's "On the Beach". They didn't have it, so I bought "Pied Piper" as a consolation. I've read it three times since. Tremendous novel. An aeronautical engineer by training, Shute was a gifted storyteller and writer. Piper is well paced, has many stories within the story of bringing the children back to England - a man coping with old age, feelings of uselessness, the loss of a son; the formation of a deep friendship with the woman his son left behind, and so forth. Shute hits on the timeless themes of courage, fortitude, self-sacrifice, forgiveness etc. without ever coming close to being maudlin. There are no unnecessary speeches from men standing on a hilltop talking about "what it's all for". As John Howard says, while in custody, to the German officer who tells him he must be a very brave man, "No, not a brave man. Just a very old one."
For the record, I think it was made into a movie twice. Once with Monty Wooley playing Howard and then again for television - mid eighties, perhaps - with Peter O'Toole playing the role. Still, as the story is so marvelous, it should be done again for the big screen. Considering Anthony Hopkins's performance in "The Remains of the Day" (which was superior to the entertaining but far less nuanced Hannibal Lecter), I think he would be perfect to play Howard, putting the perfect cap on his career.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 25, 2002
Format: Audio Cassette
Nevil Shute's love of humanity and storytelling ability are displayed at their best in this deceptively slow-starting tale of escape from the Nazis in early World War II. An elderly Englishman becomes the improbable -- but utterly believable -- guardian of a group of children trying to reach England from France ahead of the advancing Germans.
There are no wild action scenes, no gunshots in the night, none of the trappings of the contemporary suspense novel. But there is tension in large doses as Shute draws the reader in to his tale with careful portraits of ordinary people doing extraordinary things because they simply have no choice. Even minor characters come alive with Shute's vivid writing. All in all, this is one of the most satisfying books I have ever read.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By C. A. Luster on April 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
Nevil Shute describes the surroundings and characters with such detail it is hard not to see exactly what he wants the reader to imagine. Unlike any other book I have read, I was entranced. I have always been intriqued by stories about WWII, and this is a good one. When elderly Englishman takes a holiday in France trying to get over his sons death, he finds himself the leader of a band of children trying to escape the German invasion.

I was amazed that the movie has not been put on VHS or DVD. The movie follows the book fairly closely. Monty Woolley plays the elderly man, and Roddy McDowall and Anne Baxter play two of the children. Otto Preminger is a German Major. Made in 1942 it is both dramatic and comedic. I highly recommend you try to catch it on TV.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By F. S. L'hoir VINE VOICE on September 2, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first read this book as a child when, identifying with the children who could have been my compeers, I saw the movie at least five times. I loved the book then, and I love it now. The story is simply told, from the point of view of an elderly Englishman, whom we first meet in his London club during the Blitz. Too exhausted to move to a shelter, he begins to tell his tale to a stranger, who has also decided to sit out the raid, while the Luftwaffe's incendiary bombs fall closer and closer. The old man's story unfolds slowly as tells of a fishing holiday in the Jura--the mountains that border France and Switzerland--in the early months of 1939. The story may, in fact, unfold a bit too slowly for some modern readers who have been exposed to the terse squibs that proliferate novels nowadays, but Nevil Shute is such a skillful storyteller that he draws the reader almost unawares into the narrative, rather in the manner of an expert angler reeling in his fish.

Even though I know the story well, I could not put the book down until the very end. I was, after all these years, inextricably hooked.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Dora Rettig on February 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
Nevil Shute wrote stories about regular people thrown into extraordinary circumstances. He doesn't seem to attract much attention in college literature classes, perhaps because he writes about ordinary people. It's a shame because every book of Shute's is a great read. His characters will remain with you long after you've read the book. This tale of a grieving father who became a true hero is one of his best.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By jacob nordby on August 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I was so taken by the humanity and love shown by the old man in Pied Piper. He accepted the children as they came--his own kin, the urchins, the abandoned German child... I also liked the realism in the book. War was horrible. It struck the good, the bad, guilty and innocent. The grandfather figure did his best to shield the children from unnecessarily awful realities and explained those he couldn't.
You should read this. I hope they reprint, but if not, your local library will have it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Bud Smith (bsismith@sgi.net) on February 24, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Neville Shute is a master of flashback. Who would think that this old man - who didn't even speak French -was capable of herding a dozen children out of wartime Europe? The author draws the reader into his story slowly, making this near-implausible adventure all the more believable by its every-day storytelling. The only recent novelist who comes close to this unique style is Mark Halprin, in his "Soldier of the Great War". Reading Shute reminded me of the paucity of really great story tellers among popular novelists.
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More About the Author

Nevil Shute Norway was born in 1899 in Ealing, London. He studied Engineering Science at Balliol College, Oxford. Following his childhood passion, he entered the fledgling aircraft industry as an aeronautical engineer working to develop airships and, later, airplanes. In his spare time he began writing and he published his first novel, Marazan, in 1926, using the name Nevil Shute to protect his engineering career. In 1931 he married Frances Mary Heaton and they had two daughters. During the Second World War he joined the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve where he worked on developing secret weapons. After the war he continued to write and settled in Australia where he lived until his death in 1960. His most celebrated novels include Pied Piper (1942), A Town Like Alice (1950), and On the Beach (1957).

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