Nicole's Reviews > A Town Like Alice

A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
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's review
Aug 24, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: comfort-book, historic-novel

I am so pleased I've read this. After 'On the Beach' I had not really wanted to read another by Shute but 'A Town Like Alice' is as uplifting as 'On the Beach' is depressing.
Set in Malaya during the Japanese occupation we follow the forced itinerant wanderings of the female prisoners of war as each commanding officers tries to avoid the drain on his resources feeding these people requires. The women wander with a dwindling handful of guards from village to village. With the death of their final guard they offer the village headman to work for their upkeep if they can remain together and settle. The village helps them deal with the Japanese and the women become a part of the village life until the end of the occupation.
In post war Britain we hear Jean Paget's story of this time and how she survived as she relates it to her friend and her estate trustee Mr. Stachen. Jean has inherited from her Uncle an estate that is held in trust until she reaches 35. Her first desire is to return to Malaya to visit the village who sheltered her for so many years. While there she learns what became of the Australian Joe Harman who had been tortured for helping the women. Jean had thought him dead but finds he survived. Now she wishes to go to Australia to find Joe Harmon and see the Australia he so dearly loved and described to her when they were both prisoners of the Japanese.
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