Wednesday, the 1st of March, and time for Shelf Control once again! Shelf Control is a weekly feature created by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, and celebrates the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles/mountains. Since early January 2023, Shelf Control has moved base here to Literary Potpourri. To participate, all you do is pick a book from your TBR pile, and write a post about it–what it’s about, when/where you got it, why you want to read it and such. If you participate, don’t forget to share your links in the comments. I’ll check out your picks of course, and also add you to the list of participants in this post.

While I’ve read and enjoyed a couple of novels by English novelist and engineer Nevil Shute (1899-1960) before, his best known work is one that’s still sitting on my TBR pile. Born in Middlesex, Nevil Shute Norway was an aeronautical engineer and pilot who started writing in the 1920s with his first novel published in 1926. Social issues, aviation and engineering, and issues of the day reflect in his writings.

A Town Like Alice (1950) is described as a story of love and war, which follows its heroine from the Malayan jungles to Australia. Jean Paget is a young Englishwoman living in Malaya who is captured by the invading Japanese and finds herself on the death march. After the war, back in England, Jean decides to travel to Malaya once more to give back to the villagers who saved her life. But from here, she ends up travelling to an isolated Australian outpost where she faces a challenge that will draw on all her resourcefulness and spirit.

While the description seems to reveal only the bare outlines of the plot, this is a book I’ve heard so much about over the years, including from fellow bloggers and readers. I’ve enjoyed the books by Shute I’ve read before, particularly Pied Piper, the story of a retired man who wants to contribute to the Second World War and finds an opportunity to do so, when he must help take some children out of the continent and into safety. So, this makes A Town Like Alice a book that I definitely do want to read!

Have you read A Town Like Alice? How did you like it? Any others by Shute that you’d recommend?

Cover image and description via Goodreads; author information via Wikipedia

If you participate this week, do share your links and I’ll add you to the participants list!


20 thoughts on “Shelf Control #217: A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute

  1. It is an amazing book and not like any other I have ever read. His best books are very original and this is one of his best. It’s a love story but so much more. It explores redemption and restoration and renewal as well. I also recommend Beyonf the Black Stump, Requiem for a Wren and On the Beach. All very different.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very pleased to hear that. This somehow reminded me of Maugham’s The Painted Veil in a vague way from its description. Will certainly look up the other three. Haven’t read those yet🙂


  2. I’ve actually read this one! Many years ago, so I don’t remember all the details, but I remember how powerful the love story was (and there’s also a great movie version). The only other book I’ve read by Nevil Shute is On the Beach, which is quite different, but I would like to read more.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A Town Like Alice is a wonderful book It is also a Masterpiece Theatre series from maybe 20 years ago.The series is great also and follows the book closely.

    Liked by 1 person

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