Alex is The Romance Fox's Reviews > On the Beach

On the Beach by Nevil Shute
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Nov 05, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites-books, authors-p-z, classics-poetry-philosophy, historical, lendable
Read 3 times. Last read November 11, 2013.

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“It's not the end of the world at all,' he said. 'It's only the end of us. The world will go on just the same, only we shan't be in it. I dare say it will get along all right without us”
First published in 1957 at the height of the Cold War, On the Beach is a frightening story of what happens when out of control countries do with their nuclear power…..and though it’s a fiction tale, it’s terrifying how it could so easily happen today with all the countries who “play” around with their own nuclear devices…think Pakistan, USA, Syria, Korea and many many more!!!
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The story begins in 1961, when the superpowers dropped their nuclear bombs on each other, causing the total destruction of the Northern Hemisphere. photo hqdefault1_zps78e2f327.jpg What saved the Southern Hemisphere…but not for long…were the slow flow of the winds and it describes the last months of human life on earth following the nuclear war.
Melbourne, Australia, being one of the major cities in the southern parts of the world, is now waiting for the radioactive dust to reach them and finally eradicate the whole of humankind on planet Earth and how they try to come to terms with the finality of the world as we know it.
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The story centers around 5 main characters and shows how each deal with knowing that their lives will cease to exist within a very short time.
Peter Holmes, is a dedicated lieutenant commander in the Royal Australian Navy, who is preparing to leave his family to go on his last mission at sea, tries in the meantime, to continue his life as usual.
Mary Holmes,a stay at home mother and wife refuses to believe that her world is coming to an end and fights against it and is unable to accept that she and her family will die. During the period that her husband is away at sea, she tries to care for their small daughter. I felt for Mary. Wanting to believe that just maybe everyone was wrong about the radioactive dust reaching them.
The scene where she and Peter discuss what to do with their baby when the “dust” finally arrives is totally heartbreaking.
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Dwight Towers, is the kind, caring and decent captain of the American nuclear submarine. Even though he knows the reality of what happened in America, he pretends to believe that his family is still alive….it’s probably what keeps him going until the end.
Moira Davidson,  photo images2_zpsa8887397.jpgis a single young woman who wants to do everything, like drinking and dancing instead of thinking of all those things she will never see or do in her life. I really connected with her and could understand her feelings totally. Just imagine something like this happening to you. What would you do?
She becomes Dwight’s good friend and though both are attracted to each other, he never takes it further, not wanting to be unfaithful to his wife – even when he knows that she’s dead. Instead the two form a close friendship and he helps her come to terms with and accept the finality of their lives.
She in turn offers him a chance to experience some beautiful moments in his life.  photo images10_zpsfe5979d7.jpg
Another scene that has always remained with me was when Dwight leaves Melbourne and Moira watches the submarine slowly disappearing in the distance and her thinking that it will be the last time they will ever see each other….. photo images7_zps2e3e4fea.jpg
John Osborne is a scientist with CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization and he knows that he will die soon and uses the time he has left to do everything he has always wanted to do, whilst hiding all his fears from everyone.
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I have read this book a few times and it affects me each time. What if it had to happen today? To me? How would I cope? What would I do?
Scary, frightening, terrifying, alarming!!!
And at times I kept asking myself…..what’s the purpose in carrying on with your life, planting flowers, going to work, when you know you are going to die?
““If what they say is right we're none of us going to have time to do all that we planned to do. But we can keep on doing it as long as we can.”

Why not just sit around and wait for the end?
But then, the alternative seems so much more frightening…because really the alternative is to do, to think NOTHING. So we continue until the very end. I guess that’s what makes us human.
“You know," he said, "now that I've got used to the idea, I think I'd rather have it this way. We've all got to die one day, some sooner and some later. The trouble always has been that you're never ready, because you don't know when it's coming. Well, now we do know, and there's nothing to be done about it. I kind of like that. I kind of like the thought that I'll be fit and well up till the end of August and then - home. I'd rather have it that way than go on as a sick man from when I'm seventy to when I'm ninety.”
It’s a quiet story. There are no surprises, no cliffhangers, no OTT moments. You know from the beginning what the end will be.
An anti-war story that gives us a powerful message of the dangers of nuclear power and the fragility of the human race.
Despite the book being published such a long time ago, it still remains a great read.
I read a very interesting article about this book….check it out!
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Quotes Alex is The Romance Fox Liked

Nevil Shute
“It's not the end of the world at all," he said. "It's only the end for us. The world will go on just the same, only we shan't be in it. I dare say it will get along all right without us.”
Nevil Shute, On the Beach

Reading Progress

Finished Reading
Finished Reading
November 5, 2011 – Shelved
December 7, 2011 – Shelved as: favorites-books
Started Reading
November 11, 2013 – Finished Reading
November 12, 2013 – Shelved as: authors-p-z
November 12, 2013 – Shelved as: classics-poetry-philosophy
November 12, 2013 – Shelved as: historical
November 12, 2013 – Shelved as: lendable

Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper I really like Nevil Shute.

Alex is The Romance Fox Kaje wrote: "I really like Nevil Shute."
Me too. This was such an incredible book that he wrote in the 50"s.....but it could be right now.

message 3: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper I like his then-contemporaries too. (Slashed a couple of them, actually.) He writes great male characters and a low-key but clearly-felt emotion that hits the spot for me.

Alex is The Romance Fox Kaje wrote: "I like his then-contemporaries too. (Slashed a couple of them, actually.) He writes great male characters and a low-key but clearly-felt emotion that hits the spot for me."
Hey, I would love to read them. Where can I find them?

message 5: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper Alex E wrote: "Kaje wrote: "I like his then-contemporaries too. (Slashed a couple of them, actually.) He writes great male characters and a low-key but clearly-felt emotion that hits the spot for me."
Hey, I woul..."

The slash isn't published. I don't put my use of other authors characters out there. (It's a guilty pleasure. I read it, and don't object to fanfic at all, but have never released mine.)

Round the Bend was one of his I liked a lot.

Alex is The Romance Fox I am definitely going to get this one.

message 7: by Baba (new)

Baba  Wonderful review, Alex!

Alex is The Romance Fox Baba ♥♥♥ Marcus, Tyler, Tate, Dan, Ty, & Hunter wrote: "Wonderful review, Alex!"

Thanks so much B.

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