The Modern Library 100 Best Novels Challenge discussion

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100 Best Novels - Discussion > On the Beach - Nevil Shute

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message 1: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie March 2010

On the Beach by Nevil Shute On the Beach

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message 2: by Garlan ✌ (new)

Garlan ✌ This is one I've actually always wanted to read, but have seemed to always pass it by. I look forward to finally picking it up.


message 3: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie I read this one a few years ago and it is a disturbing book. It has that same desolate and dark feel as The Road did, although I think this is much better. I cannot remember if I have seen the old film version of this or not. I watch almost as many movies as I do books, and I like classics!


message 4: by Willis (new)

Willis | 27 comments This is a fantastic book and the movie is a classic (Gregory Peck version, not Armand Assante version).
I recently read it so I guess I'll catch up on one I missed.


message 5: by LynnB (new)

LynnB We have a small city library, and wouldn't you know that I am third (3rd!!) in line for the book. I figured it would be sitting there on the shelf. What's with the sudden popularity? I did like his A Town Like Alice, though, so I do want to read more of his books ... if it doesn't get available soon, I guess I'll be buying it!


message 6: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Yes, I did see the movie. I saw the Peck version, but it was a LONG time ago. I LOVE him in everything. I am one of those twenty-somethings who was probably born in the wrong era...I love old movies and music WAY more than most my age.


message 7: by Garlan ✌ (new)

Garlan ✌ Lynn, you're (semi) lucky. My small library doesn't have this one in their inventory. They also didn't have Slaughterhouse 5. I will be hitting a couple of GWs and a used book store this weekend, so maybe I can find them then....


message 8: by Kate (new)

Kate (kber) I asked my library to put it on hold for me today - turns out there are no longer any copies available. I will have to source it else where.


message 9: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie I think this one is worth reading. More than Woolf or Vonnegut if you have to choose.


message 10: by Kate (new)

Kate (kber) Currently in New Zealand this book is very difficult to get hold of, it has been discontinued I could not even get on line. By chance I was at friends last night and mentioned I was having trouble sourcing it......Subsequently he has lent me his very precious first edition (best I not drink my coffee too close!)


message 11: by LynnB (new)

LynnB I finally have a copy of the book and am starting it. It looks interesting and I did like his book A Town Like Alice, so hopefully this is as good though the subject of the book looks very different.


message 12: by LynnB (last edited Mar 19, 2010 06:37PM) (new)

LynnB **possible spoilers**

On the Beach is a classic "end of the world" scenario with a count-down until everyone is dead. The northern hemisphere has been obliterated and the cloud is slowly entering the southern hemisphere. The story is set in southern Australia as a group of people -- governmental, navy and general population -- await the cloud. Why was there such quiet acceptance of the events to come? Why no building of bomb shelters (which was what everyone really started doing in the 50s)? Why no buying up of supplies? Why the kind behavior on the part of everyone? Even back then you would have expected those with lesser civility that lived in the country to be looting or trying to get away with other bad behavior.

The language also leaves a bit to be desired. It was lifeless for the most part, though I would have imagined that there would be more despair in their voices. It makes what could be a great book just average. The characters are too cardboard and stilted. You don't find yourself really caring about them as much as you might. The American calling Moira "honey" all the time was irritating. I was already a pre-teen at the time and knew no one who did that unless it was their wife...though I guess Shute thought it was a general American characteristic or something.

"On the Beach" is a good story, but just doesn't have what it takes to be great. However, that being said, I do think it should be considered a classic in that it attempted to be anti-war and anti-nuclear bomb at a time when this was all at the forefront of everyone's minds after WWII. It is sci-fi without all the unbelievable. Chilling in many ways; cardboard in others. 3 stars.


message 13: by Garlan ✌ (new)

Garlan ✌ A book similar to this one is Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank. I read this one many years ago and remember liking it very much. I couldn't even tell you any of the main characters' names now though.


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