When Stanton Laird, American geologist, goes prospecting for the Topeka Exploration Company in the savage Australian outback, he finds something a good deal more precious than oil.
©1984 Nevil Shute Norway, Renewed by Mrs. Donald C. Mayfield (P)1988 Recorded Books, LLC
I LOVE books. And dogs & quilting & beading & volunteering.
I've gotten on a kick of listening to books I read when I was in college, in 1960 and there abouts. Nevil Shute was a wonderful author and "On the Beach" was a seminal book for me, as a young person raised in the "Drop and Cover" bomb raid trials every school in Los Angeles practiced. The atom bomb was very real to us..but that has nothing to do with "Beyond the Black Stump", does it?
I read this as a senior in high school and was fascinated by Australia when I did. The vastness of the continent amazed me, as did the primitive way people lived in 1955 in the outback..the frontier.
This book is dated, but fully shows the bigotry that was rampant back then, before the civil rights movement here in the States. If you can get by that, and not want to re-write the way things were, it's a great story about two people who fall in love. About Australia in its time of just starting to be civilized. About the excitement of the oil speculator and the misery of an arid land with no water.
As for the narrator, Davina Porter is a favorite..she narrates all Diana Galbendon's "Outlander" series and does a credible job of an Australian accent.if you enjoy Bruce Courtenay's books about that land you'll like this slightly different outlook on it.
The little town of Hazel, OR for those familiar with the North Western US is without a doubt La Grande with it's beautiful Blue Mountain vista's the Grande Ronde River which flows into the Snake and as Shute describes is located between Pendleton and Enterprise, Oregon.
Shute has this area of NE Oregon during the mid 1950's wired right down to 2nd Ave and the Safeway supermarket. Having never been to Australia myself the lesson in this for me is to trust the author's descriptions of the Outback which are most likely great snapshots of that period in Western Queensland.
This is an inquiring look into human values from the perspective of two different English speaking sub-cultures. We get a good look at an Australian Frontier mindset as well as a Puritanical post war American outlook on issues of personal responsibility and how quickly we sometimes judge others in our day-to-day lives. Ego-centrism and ethnocentrism give a solid framework by which to consider this plot and set of characters.
A timeless book as relevant today in the 2010's as it was in the 1950's. The narration is done by a well spoken female and was easy to listen to.
Good story, not Shute's best but even that is still worth the read.
No surprises here.
Limited, Clear, Experienced
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