John Turner, a young man with a chequered past, has been told he has just one year to live. He decides to use his remaining time to search of three very different men he met briefly during the war: a snobbish British pilot, a young corporal accused of murder, and a black G.I. accused of attempted rape. Along the way, Turner learns about forgiveness, tolerance, and second chances, and overcomes his fear of death.
©1947 Nevil Shute (P)2012 Nevil Shute
“Not only a brilliantly fluent storyteller but also an ironic commentator on the world scene.” (Harpers & Queen)
"As a novelist, Nevil Shute goes from strength to strength, experimenting, drawing out life as he sees it, and setting it before us in ordered pattern." (Punch)
"Shute is a storyteller of an uncommonly veracious stamp, whose performance is more remarkable that his quiet and refreshing modest airs might suggest." (Times Literary Supplement)
I had read the book in print years ago, and was moved by it then. I found it even more moving in Audio. yes, I would listen to it again.
The moment when he tells his wife, normally a remote person, that he does not have long to live and the way she shows her compassion towards him. I love the restrained portrayal of the hero and his wife.
He reads it in a way that fully encompasses and is sympathetic to the period in which the book was set.
I had read only one other Nevile Shute book, ' Town Like Alice', before this one. Now I will definitely listen to others, as they lend themselves so well to Audiobooks.
It seems that every book I read by this author is better than the ones before. That's probably not true since I have thoroughly enjoyed all of them, including this gem. So far I have never been disappointed and plan to listen to all that are recorded as audiobooks. Perhaps, if I can ever find time to sit down and actually read a print book, I'll delve into even those that are not.
I am always sorry when I finish a Nevil Shute novel even though I compulsively listen as often and as long as I can which causes me to leave these wonderful characters sooner than I would like. And yet, each tale ends as it must and at the proper time. This one did as well.
What a treasured legacy this author has left, for me at least!
I'm retired, living in Denver and quite busy.
Love Nevil Shute! If you want to learn about England in the 30's & 40's, he's your guy.
"A good old-fashioned yarn"
I really like Nevil Shute stories.
They are simple, and moral, and have an old-fashioned innocence to them. But they are also extremely 'hooky', and never let you spend even a moment of the book without wondering what will happen next.
This is no exception. It ticks all the Shute boxes, and, if there were pages to turn, it'd be a right old page turner. I suppose the audiobook version is a 'car-park waiter'...
The narrator tell the tale well. Gently paced, and sympathetic to the characters.
A right good read!
"Moving Exploration of"
The Chequer Board is the second of Shute's work I have read. The way he deals with death, and the knowing journey the dying take towards a higher understanding of their mortality is both moving and profound. See On the Beach. Ostensibly a tale of a man with a terminal illness, it is never self indulgent or morose but rather uplifting and somehow life affirming without any hint of cliche. It is a rediscovery of humanity perhaps, of peeling back the banality of everyday existence and revealing what is essential.
It deals very thoughtfully in issues of race too, stripping back prejudice and exposing the fundamental lack of differences between people of different ethnicity. It takes the reader through the superficial, where a black man is simply called nigger (you will hear the word a lot) but ultimately by travelling through this uncomfortable depiction of segregation and knee jerk abhorrence of the other, the reader comes to see the beauty in humanity and its inability to find inferiority when it is colour blind.
Turner is both part of the white world that thinks it is set apart and above others of colour, but also increasing aware that the notion of race is completely abstract and meaningless.
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