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A Town Like Alice (Vintage International) Paperback – February 9, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0307474001 ISBN-10: 0307474003 Edition: 1st VI ptg

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A Town Like Alice (Vintage International) + Pied Piper (Vintage International) + On the Beach
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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage International
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st VI ptg edition (February 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307474003
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307474001
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (358 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Entertaining. . . . Dramatic. . . . Shute is a natural and effective story-teller.” —The New York Times

“A ripping tale of budding romance and grace under pressure.” —The Times (London)

"A harrowing, exciting, and in the end very satisfying war romance." —Harper's

From the Inside Flap

"A harrowing, exciting, and in the end very satisfying war romance."
HARPER'S
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.... --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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).

Customer Reviews

Superb book, one of my favorites that I have read many times.
toto
It is a very intriguing story and makes you want to keep reading till the end.
pkadamsut
Good story line and characters, keeps your interest throughout.
mab

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

141 of 146 people found the following review helpful By Gary M. Greenbaum on July 2, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Too few of Nevil Shute's books are in print in this country--fortunately, this is one of the better one.
When an old Scottish man dies, London solicitor Noel Strachan learns that his sole heir is a young woman named Jean Paget. Strachan acts as her trustee, dispensing money as needed under the will, but the old lawyer soon finds himself falling for the young lady. Before Strachan has done more than shown her London's culture, Paget is off to Malaya to repay the village where she stayed during WWII by digging a well. She convinces Strachan to release the money by telling the story (based on real life) of how she and other women were held prisoner by the Japanese, but eventually found refuge in a small village. Before they go there, they encounter a young Australian, Joe Harmon, who is crucified for stealing food for them. When Paget returns to Malaya, she learns that Harmon survived and returned to Australia. Meanwhile, Harmon has gone to England to seek her, having thought she was married when they met in Malaya. They eventually meet up in Australia (Strachan, out of his own love for Jean, has gently attempted to frustrate the meeting). Jean, determined to make her home in Harmon's home area, sets out to make the godforsaken town into "A Town Like Alice"--a modern town like Alice Springs.
It is a fascinating story. But overlooked in every review I read is the role of the old solicitor, Noel Strachan, who finds himself in love with Jean some decades too late, and is unable to serve as a rival to Joe Harmon. He soon surrenders his unexpressed (even to himself) love out of regard for Jean's interest. His unrequited love, lends a poignant note to the book.
There are no villains.
Read more ›
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68 of 71 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 18, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am a reader; I devour books. A Town Like Alice is one of my very favorites. I come back to it time and again, whenever I need to lose myself in the heat of Malaysia or the dust of Australia. This book is so well written that I can feel the stones in the road as Jean marches along with the other women in their "Death March". I can feel the despair she feels when she believes Joe to be dead and her intense joy when she discovers that he is still alive. The story is timeless. My mother-in-law,who was a bride during World War II, first introduced me to this book saying that it was her all time favorite, and even though I came of age in the 70's, the book speaks to me as well. Its message of love's survival in the face of desperate odds gives us all a sense of hope.
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54 of 56 people found the following review helpful By MLPlayfair on July 18, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This classic of literature takes place on three continents. It involves history, geography, travel, adventure, misery, joy, evil, and love. He creates marvelous three-dimensional characters. Even the countryside is like another character, because it's so full and important to the story. I first discovered this story on PBS's "Masterpiece Theater" and that production was true to the book. The video (of that production) and the audiotape are also excellent. I had tears in my eyes when it came to an end, wanting it to go on and on. A completely satisfying book.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By D. Muhr on February 27, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When asked what is my favorite book I always respond that I have two. The first is "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee, and the second is "A Town Like Alice" by Nevil Shute. I've recommended it to many people over the years and I haven't found one person yet that could put it down. It's a true classic, one that I've enjoyed over and over. Shute's better known "On The Beach" is as good as "A Town Like Alice" but it is much darker in content. "Alice" is a sweet love story that spans time and distance. If you haven't read it yet do yourself a favor, pick it up, sit down in a comfy chair and enjoy.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By bferris@js-net.com on October 18, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Having spent time in the Australian outback in the 1960's, I found this book (read several years later) to be the ONLY story I've EVER read that captures the true character, lifestyle, and sense of the Australian people. The story woven around World War II and and the subsequent re-uniting of the main characters years later, makes this novel compelling and impossible to put down. The PBS series Masterpiece Theatre aired this story in the late 1970's and was an excellent portrayal of Shute's work. The two-volume video, while shortening the PBS work considerably, is still an enjoyable viewing experience.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 29, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"A Town Like Alice" reveals the "forced marches" imposed on WWII prisoners of war as they took place in, what was then, the Dutch East Indies. Historically, their captors, the Japanese army, took as prisoner men, women and children. The reason? They were either Dutch, English or Australian. Although the men were sent to labor camps, the captors did not always know where to take the women and children, and thus kept them walking, and walking, and walking. The story in the novel is transferred to the jungles of Malaysia. Prisoner of war Jean Pagett, a refined, young English woman, is the heroine, who takes over the leadership of the marching group of captives. Under devastating circumstances the women meet fellow prisoner of war Joe Harman, from the rugged Australian Outback, where he was a "ringer" or cattle runner. "Two total opposites" one would think but even though the war ends and everyone separates, they each set out a search to the opposing side of the earth to find the other. What was the bond and do they, in fact, accomplish their individual missions? Once involved in the story as a reader, it is difficult to put down the book. It's one of those of which you wish the last page had not come. An excellent read, a story that could have been true and one that gives hope that from bad circumstances, good, even great things can still come!
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