A Town Like Alice
Nevil Shute’s most beloved novel, a tale of love and war, follows its enterprising heroine from the Malayan jungle during World War II to the rugged Australian outback.
Jean Paget, a young Englishwoman living in Malaya, is captured by the invading Japanese and forced on a brutal seven-month death march with dozens of other women and children. A few years after the war, Jean...more
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A Town Like Alice is one of those books I love beyond reason. It contains courage, determination when the odds are against you, and taking action to change others' lives and the world around you for the better. It has some bittersweet moments, as well as a little bit of romance.
Nevil Shute based this 1950 novel on a WWII story he had heard abou ...more
The story is based on a true story and therefore can be expected to be treated with utmost respect. Fact and fiction is entwined here in such a way that the distinction between tale and truth becomes impossible. However, the impact of the story is very real and very striking.
During WWII a group of English women were captured by the Japanese in the vi ...more
In short, I loved it. A Town Like Alice follows Jean Paget, a Scottish woman who was raised by her parents in Malay (now known a ...more
The book pulled me into it at the beginning. I liked the roundabout way Shute approached the story of Jean Pa ...more
A Town Like Alice starts off fairly dry, with a narrative by an old English attorney (who will continue to be the narrator of the story). He sets up the premise of why young Jean Paget, our heroine, comes to receive an inheritance. It's the early 1950's, and the old attorney and Jean form a friendship due to the fact that ...more
When I began to read Shute's book, I quickly fell into it. Noel Strachan is perhaps one of the most charming narrators I've encountered. Shute's use of the aging British Solicitor to unveil the story of Jean Paget drew me into the tale.
It was a simple enough matter. Strachan was hired to write the will an ...more
This is a love story, but not a romance. There's no sex, no sappiness, no gasping or google eyes. Just a lot of hardship, hard work, and, most notably, hope.
Jean Paget and Joe Harman meet in Malaya during World War II. She is British, he Australian, and both are prisoners of the Japanese. Joe sacrifices all to provide a little food for Jean's bedraggled group of women ...more
" Nevil Shute's most beloved novel, a tale of love and war, follows its enterprising heroine from the Malayan jungle during World War Two to the rugged Australian outback"
Having read the blurb on this novel I was really looking forward to reading this story as it was described as "Entertaining" and "Dramatic" but unfortunately for me I neither found the book Dramatic or entertaining and really could only be pushed to describing it as a pleasant read that is neith ...more
That depth is in the characters and in the modest, yet compelling way the author describes as positive progress the way development can happen and economies can be created out of the will for ...more
A Town Like Alice is about a young Englishwoman who, after being a prisoner of war for years in Malaysia, inherits some money and sets out to Australia to find the man who tried to help her during the war. It's got a little romance and a lot of adventure. Jean Paget is a strong fema ...more
Kuala means the mouth of a river.
"People who spent the war in prison camps have written a lot of books about what a bad time they had,"..."they don't know what it was like, not being in a camp."
This book was originally published as "The Legacy".
This is the story of Jean Paget, a Scottish woman, who was captured together with 80 women and children by the Japanese during World War II in Malaya, when they have been forced to walk through the jungle trails for more than 1200 miles.
While this book is an enjoyable read I believe that it hasnt dated that well and is quite racist in parts particularly against the Aboriginal people. Some of the language and terms used tended to jar with me and left me feeling quite uncomfortable. Although written in 1949 I still feel that the ...more
Here's an image from the 1981 series. I need to write a proper review but thought I'd share this.
With this simple statement, the main protagonist of A Town Like Alice hints at the depths of the misery that she and her companions endured while prisoners of the Japanese during WW2 in Malaya. This group of British women and children were subjected to appalling conditions and g ...more
This was a book with a good premise but terrible execution. The main problem was the narration: we had a first-person narrative, but even when it slipped in to third-person narrative, it would still be the first-person narrator speaking. Confusing? Yes, indeed. That was the whole problem with the book.
It lacked the pace that the storyline demanded. A fairly simple tale, really, of a woman who spent time a ...more
This is the second book by Nevil Shute that I have read, and I loved it. The story of Jean Paget and Joe Harman is told through the eyes of her elderly trustee, Noel Strachan, starting in Malaysia during WWII and ending in northern Queensland in the early 1950's. Told in an unemotional style, the story is touching, funny and very realistic. Both Jean's and Joe's stories are interesting, believable and engaging, and intermixed with Noel's own story drive the narrative along to ...more
the book is told by an english lawyer who finds the heir to a trust, a young woman who has already had a lifetime of experience living out the second world war in malaysia, under japanese occupancy. the bulk of t ...more
A story of a young woman who inherits some money. The story is told from the attorney who manages her estate. She tells him about her experiences in Singapore during the war when the Japanese invade the English colony where she was just a young woman who was there working temporarily. There is nothing very special abou ...more
When we first meet Jean Paget , she appears as a quiet, unassuming young woman , who has suddenly inherited a large sum of money.
Jean's story gradually unfolds as she tells of the terrible ordeal she suffered through on a death march in Malaya , at the hands of the Japanese during WW II . It is then that we discover that she has guts, heart and smarts .
As the story proceeds , we learn just how courageous and savvy , she really is . After going back to Malaya to ...more
Considered a classic and one of the top 100 of all time, I can totally understand why, even if I don't completely agree. This is a rather quiet yet moving story taken from the real life experience of a young woman during WWII who was captured and spent two years as a POW in Asia participating in the woman's version of the long walk, her life after and the love she finds amidst the horror. It's very interesting, if not riveting. It slows considerably after her war experience, however, stil ...more
After the war, Jean becomes a beneficiary of an inheritance. She uses part of the inheritance to return to Malaya and have a well dug for the village who had befriend ...more
The basis of A Town Like A ...more
It is based on a real part of WWII history in which British women prisoners were marched under Japanese guard for months. The female lead character, Jean Pargeter, used her wits to stay alive and help others as well. Later on, after she was free again, she used her wits again to transform her adopted home, Willstown, into a "bonzer town" as ...more
He used Nevil Shute as his pen name, and his full name in his engineering career, in order to protect his engineering career from any potential negative publicity in connection with his novels.
He lived in Australia for the ten years before his death.
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"Don't worry about me," he said. "You've got enough troubles on your own plate, my word. But we'll come out all right, so long as we just keep alive, that's all we got to do. Just keep alive another two years, till the war's over.”
"That's as it may be," he replied. "The fact is, that you did it.”