Australia is one of the last places where life still exists after nuclear war starts in the Northern Hemisphere. A year on, an invisible cloak of radiation has spread almost completely around the world.
Darwin is a ghost town, and radiation levels at Ayres Rock are increasing. An American nuclear-powered submarine has found its way to Australia, where its captain has placed the boat under the command of the Australian Navy. Commander Dwight Towers and his Australian liaison officer are sent to the coast of North America to discover whether a stray radio signal originating from near Seattle is a sign of life.
©2009 The Trustees of the Estate of the late Nevil Shute Norway (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
An almost true story about the aftermath of the very brief WWIII (due to the inclusion of nukes). Considering how one man prevented this from happening during the Cuban Missile Crisis, this story is quite realistic. It lets you look into the psychology of people who have the luxury/curse of knowing the date of their death because of the upcoming nuclear fallout. It gives them fear while also letting them truly live. It's an interesting concept to observe as you wonder just how you would live if you knew when you were going to die. Nevil Shute pulls no punches as this is a very sad story overall.
Be warned however that unless you find the subject matter fascinating you may not greatly enjoy this. It can be a little depressing and there isn't much excitement in the story. It is more about observing how ordinary people in Australia live knowing they will soon be dead because of a war they did not want.
An exercise in what ifs...zombies, earth changes, war, plague, asteroids, EMP, raiders....what would you do if the lights went out, forever.
On the Beach, written by Nevil Shute and published in 1957 is a somber post apocalyptic novel that follows survivors in Australia after a nuclear war and subsequent radioactive fallout has contaminated most of the world. Much of the story revolves around an American nuclear submarine, the last of the US Navy, docked in Melbourne and under the command of Captain Dwight Towers. The post apocalyptic world has been contaminated with high levels of radiation stemming from the use of cobalt bombs by the Russian and Chinese military forces. This story is character driven, focusing on the struggle for people to maintain some sense of purpose in spite of their doom. It was slightly disappointing that most of the people in On the Beach basically give up and passively accept death. Why didn’t they attempt to create a shelter in which some people could survive until the levels of radioactivity decreased? (scientists mention several times that the radioactive cobalt has a 5-10 year half-life) Released at the height of the Cold War, On the Beach has elements of a warning or cautionary tale and is clearly written with some political intentions in mind. While On the Beach is a well written novel that explores some important ideas worthy of consideration, it is slow-paced and uneventful at times. If you are looking for excitement and entertainment you may want to look at some other reading options.
I've had this book on my list to read for quite a long time. I was glad to finally find it on audible, and it didn't disappoint. If you're a fan of Hemingway's war novels, I'd say this would be a safe bet for you. Its a little sad and depressing given the bleak subject matter, but still a good and ultimately rewarding read.
My favorite part of the audiobook was the narrator who does a fantastic job. In particular, I loved his voice for Capt. Towers. Sounds like a weird mix of Christopher Walken and Dean Martin! I quite enjoyed it.
Any thought of doomsday is not attractive. This novel portrays a possible scenario of the elimation of mankind based upon faulty information.
Satisfying. Tragic. Resilient.
Peter Holmes. He seems to entertain no illusions about the future of the world, but doesn't seem to be despondent like Moira, or optimistic to the point of delusion like Dwight or Mary. His argument with his wife over the pills, the fruition of his frustration over her choice to be blissfully ignorant is compelling. He is a realist, but not without a sense of hope.
Nothing. All inflections and accents done sublimely.
When the source of the radio transmissions was found, it was a particularly bleak moment, but it was the feeling I needed at that time.
I've become intrigued with the Post Apocalyptic novels, and this is one of the "classics" in the genre. Much different than any of the others where there is a sense of urgency to make the right plans, gather the right equipment, and fight off bandits to fight for survival. This one is based in Australia where life continues, for a while, following a worldwide nuclear devastation and the Southern Latitudes are just waiting for the fall out to arrive. This is a look at how people behave when they know the end will come for them in the not so distant future.
It's an interesting take on the genre and an entertaining listen. Good character development, and narration. I'm glad I read it but found it a bit lazy compared to more of the thriller types and the audio quality was never equalized. I was constantly needing to adjust my volume to understand what was being said.
All in all, it was worth the credit.
Sad, Real, Brandy
Maybe more details during the sub missions.
I didn't really have a favorite.
No. it just made me very sad.
This is not a book about submarines, survival, apocalypse, disaster. This could very well have been a book about a group of people dying of cancer. In other words: We are sick, we know we are dying, we know how much time we have left, we know everyone else is dead, how do we cope until the end. Depressing and slow. If you enjoy being depressed and listening to people lament, then this book is for you. Zzzzzzzz!
This book could send you right over the edge... WOW. What a hopeless story. Umm, I just couldn't understand why these people, given like a whole year to prepare, couldn't use all of the resources they had to build an underground shelter to house as many people as possible. They had plenty of time to come up with a decent system of underground living area that could have given them a fighting chance to survive as many years as possible trying to wait out the nuclear winter.
"When will the story begin?"
What a shame, I'd had high hopes for this book but it was so slow, I kept listening because I thought that it must get interesting at some point but it never did even towards the end. Steer clear of this one unless you like slow storylines.
I read this book probably 35y ago - and every part of it has stayed with me. The audio version is thoroughly gripping - a quietly told tale of Armageddon. Whether reading the book or listening to it, it makes me sob every time.
As with other Shute books, yes it is very 'of its time' and could be seen as dated and too 'stiff upper lip-ish'. Don't let that put you off - this book will stay in your memory for a very long time.
"A Beach like any other?"
This was my first audible book, and I could not have chosen better.
The words were brought to life by the excellent narration, which was exactly the right timbre. The relationships were portrayed very well, and even the sad moments, and of course there are many, as is usual with Shute, were memorable.
I canot wait for more of this authors work to be available.
I purchased this title as I was taken by the concept of the story. Unfortunately after several attempts I've given up listening due to the narration.
The Narrator seems to rush like it was a Friday afternoon and he'd already been paid. I had to check the speed of my iPod when listening for the first time. The reading is sterile, absent of feeling and has an awkward jerkiness.
The fact that I've just finished listening to the outstanding 'Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' trilogy, may be partially to blame. An extremely hard act to follow. Even so, this left me disappointed.
"Absolutely nothing happens"
I’m a great fan of the post apocalyptic genre and this book was said to be one of the best but boy are they wrong. What a bore fest. It didn’t take long for me to dislike this book but I persevered as I was intrigued by the stray radio signal plot mentioned in the synopsis. Upon discovering the outcome to this subplot I felt like digging up Nevil Shute and strangling him. You keep expecting something to happen but it never does, it’s essentially a story about a group of people knowing the end is coming and waiting for it, you can’t take the characters seriously and when you finish the story you wonder why you bothered. I would recommend Alas Babylon instead.
"A book of its time"
The book was published in 1957 when there was a very real threat of nuclear war: this explains in large part why it seems so innocent and world-weary. If you accept this and do not try to put it into a modern context, then the blandness of the story is understandable and (more to the point) it becomes well worth listening to because Shute is, above all, a masterly storyteller.
The characters are well-drawn if a little caricatured in their stiff upper lip simplicity. Nonetheless, it is impossible not to feel for them and to feel a sense of real sadness as the inevitability of the ending approaches.
It is well and sensitively read and, even if this sort of book is not to everybody's taste, it is well worth listening to.
Can we have more Shute, please?
"solid post nuclear holocaust fiction"
Either version would have been good. Some people complained about the accents used. Personally I found them fine, only a few minor characters sounded off to my ear.
Moira. She's one of the central characters and was very engaging. Very well formed and completely believable. I felt more for her than any other character in the story.
Kind of hard to' enjoy'a scene in a book like this. It's a pretty harrowing read.
Listened to it in public so had to stop myself crying, but it was struggle.
A lovely, sad, accurate, if a little dated tale. Well worth a listen.
"Truly touching listen"
We love this story, we have listened to a dramatized abridged version before and loved it so when we saw this we bought it straight away. It hasn't let us down, it was great to hear the whole story and the narrator did a brilliant job. We have also seen one of the films based on this book which we loved also. Both my husband and I are huge fans of this story. If you've never read or listened to a book from this author before its a great start to his work. I think for us it will always be our favorite book of his, the story is truly touching and its something you'll never forget.
Highly recommended. Great Narrator and a much enjoyed listen. I'm not sure there is much else to say, give it a try and we doubt you'll be disappointed.
"Understated and depressing classic"
On the Beach is a pioneering piece in the 'post-apocalyptic' genre, and probably does it better than most others.
Set in Australia folliwng a nuclear war it depicts a society, and the poeple in it, waiting for an inevitable death as the radioactive dust is drawn slowly southwards by the wind.
Shute is an undoubted master of understatement, meaning that whilst the war and the innevitable fate that is coming south on the winds is rarely discussed, it's in the background of every conversation, brooding and building an atmosphere of despair and claustrophobia.
Ultimately it asks whether it's better to die suddenly and unexpecting, or to be given time to reflect.
The narration is smooth and unfaltered, accents subtle but well drawn and very easy to listen to.
"Will the end of the world really be this dull?"
Who would have imagined the end of the world in Australia could be so terribly civilised? This book portrays a particularly English Apocalypse, with all discussions of any gravity avoided with such phrases as 'let's have a cup of tea, darling' and 'lets do the washing up'.
Pastimes as imminent death approaches in the form of a cloud of radiation are fishing, planning for the future, trying to buy a pogo-stick for your long-dead son and going about business as usual. Civilisation is reputedly 24 hours and 3 hot meals from anarchy but in Shute's Australia everyone?s about to die in the next few hours and people are still buying garden furniture! I was not expecting or hoping for Mad Max, but this book is utterly unbelievable for it's sheer lack of emotion and for not one of the passive, ovine characters taking the initiative and trying to actually survive. These are macabre automatons, playing out the last hours of their turgid lives, obsessing about 'doing the right thing, old boy'.
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