This was my first book by Nevil Shute but it won't be my last.
I especially liked the narrative being written from the elderly solicitor's perspective. Although in the last few chapters you could tell where the story was going, you wouldn't know how it got there until you finished.
I listen to and have recently started to write reviews. I've found the reviews have helped me to select books.
A young woman, during WWII, in Japanese occupied Malaya, led a group of women and children, who traveled 1200 miles before finding a place where they would live and work until the end of WWII.
There were 800 women and children when the long and arduous journey began. When they found a place to settle, only 30 of them survived.
While working in a Japanese rice paddy, two men passed by who were also prisoners of war in Malaya. They worked as mechanics and fixed anything on four wheels. The woman was quite interested in the gentleman and during one of their infrequent discussions was told that he lived in Alice, Australia. She informed him that she would be returning to England when the war was over.
The man and woman became great friends. However, the woman was always seen carrying a baby on her hip. The man understood this to mean that she was married.
The men passed through often and the Australian would bring things such as coffee, sugar and other commodities that were extremely in short supply because of the war. He over stepped his stealing one too many times and had to pay an extraordinary price.
The narrator was great and made the book a great listen. The novel had no guns, soldiers fighting and killing. Instead, it explained how two people met and their journey through life.There were no complaints about the concentration camp that the man lived in. However, the Japanese had no place for the women and children to be properly housed and they were left to travel mile after mile on foot, attempting to find food, water and a place to rest and sleep for a short time before continuing on their journey to find a camp in the wind for women and children.
It moves right along, not all the tedious details of things like in modern books. I had to pull my car over twice and have a cry, one of despair and one of complete happiness. I would only listen 30 minutes at a time because I did not want the book to end. My favorite book prior to this one was The Chaperone, narrated by Elizabeth McGovern.
Good book to take on a long road trip.
It was a bit long but very interesting. I found Jean to be very courageous and interesting and I was glad to learn about Australia and it's lingo.
I enjoyed the narration very much.
Great story and characters. Really enjoyed this one and the Far East setting. I learned a lot about Australia and the outback.
I am sorry I've missed out so long on this author-going to check out his other works. The audio production was incredible. I was really there with them! And after all isn't that why we love fiction?
Sew N Sew
I enjoyed knowing these characters. The last half was a little predictable but a pleasant adventure. Loved seeing the cultured that were a part of the story.
The story is loosely based on a true story. The main character is a no-nonsense, admirable young woman who becomes a leader of her prisoner group, likely saving many lives, and who eventually becomes an entrepreneur in the Australian outback restoring life to a town which is a mere shadow of its former self in the gold rush years. The prisoner portion of the story is quite interesting (though its not clear there ever was a march like this). When the story moves to Australia, for a good part (at least 1/2 the book) I found myself rather bored. I wish I had had a hard copy so I could have skimmed the last portion. All in all, the book would have been better as a long New Yorker or Atlantic magazine article. It isn't exciting and reads, a bit like a report, which isn't the narrator's fault.