Jean Paget is just twenty years old and working in Malaya when the Japanese invasion begins. When she is captured she joins a group of other European women and children whom the Japanese force to march for miles through the jungle. While on the march, the group run into some Australian prisoners, one of whom, Joe Harman, helps them steal some food, and is horrifically punished by the Japanese as a result. After the war, Jean tracks Joe down in Australia and together they begin to dream of surmounting the past and transforming his one-horse outback town into a thriving community like Alice Springs...
©1989 The Trustees of the Estate of the Late Nevil Shute Norway
yes, the character Jean Padgett is my hero! I want to strive to be just like her. Girls, you will love her strength, inner beauty and compassion.
The fate of Jean and Joe meeting despite the dire circumstances
no but I will now!
"Climbing the Mountain of Life"
This is a great story and I love Robin Bailey's voice. It is very English and proper, which I find refreshing.
I really enjoyed the first half of this book - the plot was interesting and moved at a good pace, the characters were believable, there were some surprises with unexpected twists and turns, and I was keen to know what would happen next. But by the time the action moved to Australia it was all I could do to keep listening. The pace slowed, the plot was pedictable and not terribly convincing, a lot of the detail about cattle properties and outback towns was boring, and much of the format was reported speech which I found tedious. I thought that if I heard 'bonzer' or 'oh, my word' one more time I would scream. And couldn't someone have told Shute that there are crocodiles in Australia but no aligators! I know this is a novel of its time and one must accept the racism and sexism as part of society in the 1950s, but referring to Aboriginal people as 'boongs', 'gins', 'lubras' and 'abos' is so totally unacceptable nowadays that it grated every time I heard the words and it detracted considerably from my enjoyment of the book.
Robin Bailey is a first class narrator - his ordinary reading voice and accent are perfect for this story and his accents and voices for different characters are good - except for the Australian accent which is commonly considered very difficult to imitate and Bailey's attempt is yet more proof of the veracity of this observation.
Listening to the narrator made me feel he, Robin Bailey was Noel, telling the story. I would very likely listen to another book narrated Robin Bailey.
My favorite character was the person "writing" the story, named Noel. His affection for my second favorite, Jean, is very heart warming and endearing.
I live on an island off the coast of Maine. Since I installed a "doggie door" I am now retired from "Letting The Dogs In and Out"!
This is the best book I've heard this year and will recommend it to everyone. The story is inspiring and the narration is great. Want to read more of Nevil Shute and eager to listen to Robin Bailey narrate again.
Don't usually write reviews but was compelled to leave one for this wonderful book.
Just wonderful and highly recommend anyone who are looking for a story of building something in this time of everybody being just critical of what others have built.
This book reminds you of the importance of taking roads less taken. Taking a journey out of your comfort zone could be challenging but also could yield the best meaning of life if you have purpose and companionship to take it together.
Beginning and large part of story about women in WWll. Amazing and true story (I think) . The can-do spirit of people of that era. Strong female character!
cant think of one right now
Truly one of the best books. Detailed story of the capture of women in WWII and unending march until end or war. Only end of book deals w/ Australia, is a bit different, but very good.
This tale of romance that develops after the chance meeting of an Australian soldier and an English woman in wartime (WW II) Malaysia is a surprising and unexpected pleasure. Shute's story telling is straightforward, the plot very engaging, and the characters are folks that one takes to heart almost immediately. Without sentimentalism or preachiness, Shute has written a novel that combines a fascinating history of the Australian Outback in the 50's, as well as the tribulations of the English that were trapped in Malaysia when the Japanese invaded.
There is no getting around the fact that there is blatant racism in the book, revolving around the aboriginal population of Australia. Though counterbalanced by Shute's gentle but determined promotion of the rights of women throughout the book, what appears to be frank acceptance of the notion that aborigines are almost subhuman is startling in today's world, however accurately it may have represented the time period that Shute writes about.
Racism aside, this is a terrific tale, peopled with characters that are steady folk, principled, brave, funny, witty. One of the more enjoyable tales that I have listened to in the past couple of years!
Wow, this book is only noteworthy for its dullness. It gives me the same feeling that watching movies from the 50s does, much exposition and very little happening.
The characters are well developed and adorably Old British Empire. The writing is excellent but also the ultimate cure for insomnia. Just don't.
I picked this up without really knowing anything about it -- and was almost immediately swept into a great story. The heroine is interesting and strong, the narrator is an unusual voice, and it's an unexpectedly sweet love story.
Robin Bailey does a great job reading -- his voice is plummy and soooo british, and by the end I was a little bit in love with him, which is exactly how it should be. Highly recommend you give this one a listen.
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