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No Highway

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  1,336 ratings  ·  107 reviews
Theodore Honey is a scientist with an interest in the paranormal and a job testing metal fatigue in aircraft. When a new transatlantic plane, the Reindeer, is found to have crashed in Labrador, Theodore believes he knows why. The scientist is sent to the scene of the crash. En route to Canada Theodore learns he is flying in a Reindeer and is in danger.
Mass Market Paperback, 281 pages
Published 1963 by Pan Books (first published 1948)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  1,336 ratings  ·  107 reviews

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Aug 26, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh Nevil Shute, how are you so fascinating?
His books are always about these sort of greyish people who eventually triumph in the end because of their deep-down decency and competence.
There's usually a whole lot of technical details about airplanes.
And just when you're really getting into it, you get slapped in the face by attitudes of half a century ago.
And despite all this, they are addictive as all hell.

In this one, there's a genius engineer named Mr. Honey (not kidding) who is also a
Stephen Hayes
It's interesting to re-read a book after a long time, and see whether your opinion of it has changed. I first read [authoer:Aldous Huxley]'s Brave New World when I was about 17, and found it very exciting and stimulating. I re-read it when I was 57, and after 40 years found it rather flat and dull. I've just finished reading No Highway after a gap of about 60 years, and found it as good as when I first read it.

It was interesting to see what I remembered and what I had forgotten. I was about 13
Whew, finally finished this! Very tedious reading because the plot was so focused on a certain type of plane and Mr. Honey trying to test mental fatigue after around 1,400 hours of flying time. I like planes and flying, but all I can say was that this was boring. Really boring :P I like the beginning and Mr. Honey's character was unique (although weird at times). My favorite scene was when he was in the plane scaring everyone about crashing.

Anyway, glad to have read this, and I probably will
David Dennington
Jun 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good story. Nevil Shutes stories just keep getting better--though my edition by was full of typos (as was Ruined City which was awful). At first, I thought this book about aircraft engineering might be dull. But Shute did not disappoint. He is comfortable telling about his own subject as an expert in aeroplane design, engineering and flying.

A youngish man is put in charge of the British Research Laboratory at Farnborough. He soon learns that one of his employees, a religious eccentric, believes
Jul 12, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paper
Oh, Nevil Shute. I do so adore your unabashed authorial self-insertion. I haven't read all Nevil Shute, or even the majority, but the ones I have read, I have strong opinions about.

In this one, Shute is himself twice, both in the narrator (a young manager at an aeronautics company) and the main character, a weedy, pathetic, but brilliant "boffin".

The novel opens with the young manager, Scott, talking about his job managing a bunch of brilliant but mildly eccentric scientists at a safety
Ian Laird
Sep 28, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
this aircraft is in a very dangerous condition. Its got a very serious fatigue trouble in the tailplane. You must turn back to England at once.
-Theodore Honey, p57

Not a bad way to begin a story- with an aeroplane about to fall out of the sky. If you heard someone say here is a novel centred on metal fatigue, that might not have been so compelling, but metal fatigue which might kick in at any moment and have a devastating effect on a select group of passengers whom we have got to know quite well
Jun 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aviation
No Highway builds an absorbing, suspenseful story around the unlikely basis of scientific researchwhich takes on a much stronger immediacy when it casts doubt on the safety of an airplane. The trouble is, the theory suggesting the aircraft are unsafe comes from Theodore Honey, an untidy, eccentric scientist whom few take seriously. One of his superiors, the book's narrator Dennis Scott, believes he may be right, but convincing higher officials poses a difficult problem. When Honey is sent to ...more
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A withdrawn scientist working in self contented obscurity is forced into trying to avert aviation disaster. It starts clever but ends very stupid. A fine thriller ruined not by plotting but by the relentless desire of the author to foist an unlikely happy personal ending. Could have been so much better.
Jan 20, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a weird one. Fundamentally, there's a good yarn here but it is clothed in some very old-fashioned views about gender; about social status and about families. It made for slightly uncomfortable reading, even though I have lived through the era in which is was set and I therefore understand how things were then and how times have changed.
I would not therefore recommend the book very strongly.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Vikas Datta
Sep 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Delightfully engrossing with deft characterisation and dramatic moments galore..
Anne Matheson
An entertaining enough read, but hopelessly old-fashioned. I guess men born in 1899 often did think that women will find true fulfilment cooking and cleaning for clever blokes, and that the clever bloke will flourish once he has regular meals and someone to clean his floor, but it's not often I read a book espousing these things. Nevil Shute's characters think that you have to have decided on your life's course by the time you're twenty-five or it's too late. Girls with jobs approaching their ...more
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aviation
I read this because Talking Pictures TV was showing the movie version, No Highway in the Sky, and then managed to miss the movie, but time spent reading Shute is seldom wasted. Like many of his works, this one pokes lightly at occult and paranormal themes while keeping it realistic and entertaining, and mixes human interest with technology and speculation.
Sep 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Another classic, chosen randomly off a high bookshelf late on Saturday night. I hadn't thought that I had read No Highway before and I was after a fresh read but I must have read it once many many moons ago as the sequence in the cockpit at Gander was familiar. I couldn't remember anything from the story at all and so thoroughly enjoyed this novel.

No Highway is part-romance, part-thriller and part-scientific whodunnit, all aspects that are skillfully woven together. As I have commented before, I
I wasn't sure how to rate this. It's a curious mixture of the gripping and the absolutely mundane. The gripping part involves a search by a bunch of engineers to prove that the tail wing of a new passenger plane contains a latent design flaw (which admittedly doesn't sound that gripping, but in Nevil Shute's hands becomes so) while the mundane part concerns pretty much everything else, specifically a horrendous domestic drama involving a cast of insipid female characters straight out of a ...more
Because I have an interest in things aviation I was drawn towards this story, which at its heart deals with the serious issue of metal fatigue in aircraft. This story is really a parallel of the real-world when the deHavilland Comet (England's first jet passenger aircraft following WW2) which promised so much, experienced a string of disastrous metal fatigue problems with the airframe of the Comet and more than 100 lives were lost through these disasters. The main characters in this story are ...more
Jul 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'd forgotten how good this one was. My favorite scene was the meeting when all the proper British types let fly at one another over the matter of the possibility of fatigue fractures in the tailplane of the fictional Reindeer aircraft. It reminded me of many a contentious meeting I've seen while working to put new machinery into commission in mills and plants around the world. I was very proud of our narrator for standing by his employee Mr. Honey even when he did something so crazy as lifting ...more
Jun 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Novel about the crisis faced in commercial aviation with the discovery of metal fatigue. Made into a jolly-good movie starring Jimmy Stewart Marlena Deitrich, and Glynnis Johns.

The hero is an eccentric scientist/engineer researching vibration-induced metal fatigue using the tail assembly from one of the latest model jet airliners, which happen to be currently in-service. When one of them crashes after flying approximately the same number of hours he predicted for spar failure, he is sent to
Sherry Schwabacher
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
I originally read this after seeing the excellent movie, NO HIGHWAY IN THE SKY, which starred James Stewart and Marlene Dietrich. Loved the book even more. Though I was still a child at the time Shute wrote this, the social attitudes that many reviewers have commented on were real. I think it's important to read books from other times in order to understand how far we've come and how far we have to go. I wonder what people 60 years from now will have to say about our culture?
Philip Hall
Jul 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No Highway

An important and charming story takes us back to the early post war year's. It was held to foreshadow the tragedies of the Comet 1. This was the first jet airliner and the pride of British aviation. After two major crashes a careful investigation established metal fatigue was the problem. Britain's lead in jet travel was lost and US producers were to dominate the jet age while the British aviation industry was reduced to a bit part player
Neelesh Agrawal
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Assour Ali
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is one of those that you keep drawn to so that you might touch the every day bravery of the normal hard working plodder in life. The mundane, ordinary , boring man who is capable of miracles in such a unself conscience way that he is just a smidgen away from being an angel. A must read .
Sep 21, 2015 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie
Free download available at Faded Page.

The movie based on this book is available at YouTube
Jul 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it, contains everything from (slightly dubious) science and engineering to pseudoscience and superstitions. Brilliant read.
May 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read

The story of why systems fail by the Michael Crichton of an earlier era. Could be the story of the de Havilland comet, but the story predates the Comet
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-general
Nevil Shute wrote many outstanding books before his death in 1960; On the Beach and The Far Country are only two examples of big books with a vision. But he also wrote a number of fine but lesser known novels derived from his career as an aeronautical engineer before he turned to writing. These books are not the grand visions that his most popular books offer; rather, they are small-scale stories of people caught in threatened positions, usually involving aeronautical problems.

No Highway
Jun 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3-star
I did have to keep reminding myself that this book was written 70 years ago and not get angry at the way women were depicted etc. A charming story of an eccentric scientist trying to prove he is right about his predictions of a tail falling off a plane. It was strange to read what felt like a modern novel, but was missing the modern tech such as email/cell phones/gps etc. I was sad that the ageing film star was pushed aside to make way for the younger air stewardess. I did rather like
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was really pleased to receive a Shute novel in a vintage book subscription package I've signed up to - Shute's A Town Like Alice was one of my favourite books as a teenager, so I was delighted to get the chance to read another of his books.

This is a great escapist read of the "little man" going up against major players in his bid to prove his theories about how "metal fatigue" might affect an aeroplane. Mr Honey is a complex oddball but a likeable character at the same time. Amusingly, he
Sep 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cleverly structured, if slightly repetitive story about a small group of people waiting for something disastrous to happen, and how this forges relationships and leads to different ways of seeing their own lives. As always with Shute, characterisation is subtle and sympathetic, as window into the day-to-day minutiae of ordinary English people living in the 1950s its detail is incomparable.

There's also a great deal about aeronautical engineering, which was the author's day-job career, and
Andy Bird
Nov 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, 6
Good. This was quite good. It is a little bit dated and the characters are very much of the period, very male orientated. The story is not bad, a little bit forced in places, but it flows quite well. The characters are good and fit the story well particularly the main character, quite quirky. Overall I liked it, its not exceptional but it is good. I would recommend it, particularly if you are a fan of Shute. ...more
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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.

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