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Publisher's Summary

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

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Davina Porter is a wonderful narrator

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.

Recommended-Highly

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

NE Oregon to NW Australia ...

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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Robert
  • Sandpoint, ID, United States
  • 07-03-12

Australia is defined.

Where does Beyond the Black Stump rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

Good story, not Shute's best but even that is still worth the read.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

No surprises here.

What three words best describe Davina Porter???s voice?

Limited, Clear, Experienced

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting view of US-Australia differences 1955

A young Oregon geologist with recent experience in "Arabia" is assigned to assess oil potential in the northwestern Australian outback circa 1955. Though even in '55 Australia was one of the world's richest countries, at the time it was considerably poorer than the booming USA. The economic gap was even wider between long-settled but rural Oregon (where our geologist grew up) and the arid frontier of Western Australia. Our American geologist, who has some skeletons in his closet, falls in love with young Australian lassie, who is a member of an extended, very complicated European-Aboriginal family.

When Mr. Geologist brings not-quite-engaged lassie back to meet ma and pa in eastern, small-town Oregon, complications ensue.

Nevil Shute, an English author who spent many years residing and writing in Australia, brings an odd perspective to the story. The plain message is that American racism in Mr. Geologist's Oregon hometown is a source of division between lassie and geologist's family, friends, and neighbors, even though the fair Aussie lassie is herself of 100% European descent. Even the whiff of a genetic relationship with "half-caste" or "yellow" Aboriginal-Europeans is enough to make Oregonians suspicious. America was certainly racist at the time, but it's a bit odd to treat Australians as blameless in this area. The author's own treatment of the Aboriginal and half-Aboriginal characters in his novel loudly shouts our "These are lesser mortals, whose cares and tribulations matter not at all." Australia was for many decades famous for its European only immigration policy, and its aboriginal population were victims of the same notions of racial prejudice as the American Indian and African-descended residents of the U.S.

For all that, this is an interesting, even fascinating, picture of life in frontier Australia and rural Oregon circa 1955. Very well read.

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not as good as othe Shute stories

It's a decent story, decently read, but somehow wasn't as interesting as the other Shute books I've listened to. I'm getting down to the ones with fewer ratings, which means fewer purchases, not sure I'll keep going. The first several stories were excellent.