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Beyond the Black Stump

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  473 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
The expression “beyond the black stump” refers to the deepest, darkest wilds of the Australian outback, the setting for Nevil Shute’s novel of a romance tested by cultural difference. Stanton Laird is an American geologist sent to hunt oil in a remote part of Western Australia. There he befriends the highly unconventional Regan family, the rough-and-tumble owners of a mill ...more
ebook, 300 pages
Published October 12th 2010 by Vintage (first published 1956)
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Jul 28, 2010 Curtis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book with strong characters that are allowed the time and pace to develop properly. It takes place in both America and Australia and tracks the story of an Oregonian (Stanton) and an Australian (Mollie) as they come together and try their hand at love. It is not a sappy love story though - rather it deals with the trials, misunderstandings and controversy that are inherent in close relationships between people who physically come from worlds apart.
Clare Smith
Sep 14, 2014 Clare Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read all of Shute's books when I was a teenager, however this one was missing from the set. Now I found it online ($45 phew) in order to complete the set that my parents are going to pass on to me now some 35 years along.

It was a real surprise to read this final novel and thoroughly enjoy it. I was concerned that this many years on I may no longer have found the style or content relevant. But the memory of the authors other works was not disappointed. The story itself is at face value one of t
Feb 12, 2009 Lori rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nevil Shute does a wonderful job of exploring Australia from a British point of view and examines the post WWII lifestyles of both America and Australia with a unique perspective that always interests me. This story focuses on a young man raised in a small town in Oregon and his time spent on the Australian frontier. The comparison/contrast between what America now (or at least mid 20th century) considers "wild country" and the vast "lunatic" frontier of Australia is interesting. He does a beaut ...more
Dec 03, 2008 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love stories about the taming of Australia. Beyond the Black Stump satisfies this craving, describing life in frontier sheep grazing portions of the country as seen from the eyes of an American geologist traveling there to explore for oil. The culture differences between his life and that of the people he meets is interesting and at times incredibly funny, although also sobering and sad as well. Shute does a good job telling the story and the book easily kept my interest throughout.

If you like
Penina Sagadiev
Jan 03, 2016 Penina Sagadiev rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't usually summarise a book in a review. That's already been done by people better than me. What I will say is there is just something about this author that keeps me searching for more books by him. He isn't flashy. There isn't a lot of action. These aren't that type of book. These books were written long a go and take place in often remote places, yet they are relatable. He creates these characters that are real and you get invested in them. A Town Like Alice and On The Beach were two oth ...more
The way the author explored the notion of how different cultures judge outsiders made for a terrific read and some pretty humorous situations. The ways the author was able to illustrate the difference between progress and development was intriguing too. The story of the taming of the kangaroo mouse must have started out true somewhere! The picture of that creature and it's master is too detailed to be made up! Somwhere, at some time there must have been a man who really did mince up bugs and che ...more
Stanton Laird is a young man who got in some trouble as a youth but overcame it quite well. He went on to become a successful geologist for an oil company. This necessitated his leaving his much-loved, small hometown in eastern Oregon.

Following a 3-year assignment of oil exploration in Saudi Arabia, he goes next to a similarly desolate assignment trying to locate oil in the very sparsely populated area in the northern part of of West Australia on a million-acre sheep station. Here he falls deep
Aug 19, 2015 Al rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A young, but experienced, American petroleum engineer is sent to a remote site in Western Australia to run seismic tests for a possible oil well. He is befriended by a rough-hewn sheep farming family and its eligible young daughter. So far, the book follows Mr. Shute's familiar plot track. Along the way, though, Mr. Shute is scattering hints that the final resolution may be different this time, and so it is.
The novel is one of a group that calls on Mr. Shute's Australian experiences for setti
Larry Piper
Rather a disappointment. Nevil Shute has become one of my favorite authors, but it appears that he lost his way in his last couple of books. It would seem that in his later years, he became so infatuated by his adopted home country of Australia that he couldn't see any of its faults. To support this infatuation, he seems to have had a need to villainize England (A Far Country) and the U.S. ( Beyond the Black Stump) so as to make himself feel better about his having emigrated to the Antipodes.

Mar 08, 2016 F rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyable. Very cleverly planned and thought out, so although it is a fairly light-weight romance/adventure story, the choice of a hero from small town America who is a geologist, working first in Arabia and then in Western Australia, juxtaposed with a heroine from the deepest outback of Western Australia gives opportunity for all sorts of comtrasts and interest. I found the characters convincing. I like his good use of technical detail, enough to let you feel he knows what he is talk ...more
Thomas Womack
Jun 04, 2016 Thomas Womack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a surprisingly good book; it's very much a period piece now, so also valuable in letting you see what someone writing in the mid-fifties and in his own mid-fifties thought of both America and Australia at the time ... clearly an enormous nostalgia for the frontier, though it's not completely obvious from the book that Shute had been living in Melbourne for five years since it was written. The approach to the many well-formed characters is complicated and, while judgmental, judgmental in ...more
Nicole Gagnon
May 08, 2015 Nicole Gagnon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love this author, this is the fourth book I read of his. This book was good, you really get a sense of what life was like in northwest Australia not quite a century ago. In addition to discovering a bit more about the history of Australia, I really enjoyed seeing Mollie and Stan discover who they each were as their relationship changed. I won't be a spoiler but I really was not expecting that ending. All I will say is that I did really enjoy seeing Mollie figure out what sort of a life she wante ...more
Alexander Polsky
Nov 26, 2015 Alexander Polsky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not one of Shute's better known works, but of particular interest to me, as he compares two places I know well-- outback Australia and Eastern Oregon.

Its very much an anachronism as a book, not least because as he describes a drive out along the Columbia River, he's able to describe it without the last dams.

But beyond travelogue, the book is a window into the mind of a Brit in the mid-1950s, contemplating American power. This book is worth reading for ideas that are now gone; Shute was an engine
David Kenrick
Sep 24, 2015 David Kenrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beyond the Black Stump is a slow-paced but surprisingly good romance which deals with the problems caused by variable cultural assumptions. It is not, however, simply some hackneyed novel of forbidden love but an altogether more ordinary affair with a distinctly colonial twist.

The central protagonists are Mollie Regan and Stanton Laird. Regan is a young, illegitimate girl from 'beyond the black stump' - Australian parlance for the middle of nowhere - she lives on an enormous and remote sheep ran
Oct 24, 2014 Chrisl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
copied and pasted review from "KIRKUS REVIEW
A good idea and bad execution- a disappointment for Nevil Shute enthusiasts. Frankly, for this reader, it has the earmarks of something written earlier in his career- and inadequately revised. The thread of plot is adequate enough- but the dialogue, particularly the lame attempt to simulate middle class American speech, is amateurish and thoroughly annoying. Let's hope the English public won't accept it as authentic. (It must be comparable to an Americ
May 24, 2011 Delilah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beyond The Black Stump is by my sister’s favourite author, Nevil Shute. If you like Steinbeck, you’ll probably like Shute.

This author, who started life out as an engineer, writes books about foreigners and their interactions with Australians and Australia around the 1950s. As a English immigrant to Australia at the time, he has a talent for capturing the sensibilities and curiosities of Australia of the time, and expresses a true fondness for his new country, often in comparison to an England h
Pre-2000 reading: This is an interesting view of two people in love who have to bridge the gap between cultures. Despite feeling that 'Western' cultures aren't that different, differences abound.

2015 reading: as I read this book again, after many years of not reading it, and reading it right after The Far Country, I found that there was an element of propaganda in it. That impression turned out to be an element of the story that didn't reveal itself until the end. I would have, again, liked more
Mike Harper
Surely not one of Shute's best, this is a simple love story without much in the way of action. Of course, it is beautifully written, as all of Shute's novels are. and the love story is well done.
Suzanne Auckerman
Apr 12, 2016 Suzanne Auckerman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Neville Shute's books. There are no set themes. I was pleased to see some new titles on the audiobook shelf. Every story is unique. This one is set in Australia .
David Goodrich
Oct 08, 2015 David Goodrich rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good read!

I am a life-long fan of Neville Shute. Beyond The Black Stump is a product of Nevile's maturity. I would recommend it to anyone.
Lucy Gray
Jan 25, 2015 Lucy Gray rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book - there's a simplicity about Shute's plot and writing that belies his understanding of human nature. Particularly surprised and impressed with his female characters in this novel.
Nov 24, 2014 Scilla rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stanton Laird works for an oil company as a geologist. Recently in Arabia, he has a month vacation at home in Oregon before he is sent to Western Australia to check out a very remote site for the possibility of oil. Stanton is very fond of his family and hometown Hazel, and he and his best friend (who shared everything including girl friends during high school) go deer hunting with bow and arrow. In the Australian outback, he meets Molly at the sheep ranch on the property where he is working. Mo ...more
Hans Guttmann
Not his greatest work, but I like his writing. Nice backdrop, time and place, US & Australia 1955. I guessed the ending.
I registered a book at!
Jun 04, 2014 Caroline rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: never-finished
I did not enjoy this book. Written more for male readers I think and never finished it
Paula S
A sweet romance, with a not very surprising twist at the end. I mostly enjoyed it for the description of daily life in the Australian outback and rural America during the late 1950s.
Steve Woods
Well written, but very dated "Women's Weekly" style drivel, but with a story somewhere inside that's not too hard to find though not very exciting.
Sep 18, 2014 Madelyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, nevil-shute
I've read all of Nevil Shute's books. Have not read On the Beach recently but plan to.
Trustee of the Toolroom is also a ******
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Nevil Shute Norway was a popular British novelist and a successful aeronautical engineer.

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.
More about Nevil Shute...

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