On the Beach

by Nevil Shute | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0590030523 Global Overview for this book
Registered by JudySlump612 of Minneapolis, Minnesota USA on 3/11/2013
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5 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by JudySlump612 from Minneapolis, Minnesota USA on Monday, March 11, 2013
If you're holding the book in your hand, and have looked at the back cover, this won't be a spoiler: the superpowers of the northern hemisphere have decided that their national security rests on making the world uninhabitable. Now, a deadly cloud of radioactivity is making its way southward...

This book has some flaws, but its power over me remains so great that I'm sticking with ten stars. As much as I'd love to propose this to my sf book club, I'd make a terrible discussion leader, snuffling into my Kleenex for an hour. Shute almost never shows his characters indulging in emotion - we feel it for them, and it builds to an almost uncontainable pitch.

First flaw: the young wife, Mary, seems incapable of understanding what's going on, and I certainly resent this assignment of stupidity to a female character. But this was written in the 1950's. I don't know about Australia, but in the US, girls at that time were being given a pretty strong message that their destiny and only hope of happiness was to be, or to become, that ignorant. Shute needed a character to represent all the people who would not be able to grasp reality, and by the standards of that time, he made the obvious choice.

Second flaw: all of the characters approach the end with quiet courage, even heroism. They live up to their responsibilities and take care of their loved ones. There is NO mention anywhere in the book of riots or looting. Again, I don't know about Australia, but I cannot believe this would be possible in the US, or most of the world. This may seem crazy to say about a book that reduces me to tears, but I believe Nevil Shute has written an unrealistically optimistic book about the end of the world. Still, I would love to believe that we could find it within ourselves to finish our collective existence with such dignity.

There's a 1959 film version of the book, starring Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner. As always, the film departs from the book in some important ways, but it's good enough to be well worth watching.

But that's just one person's opinion. Future readers, what do YOU think of this book?

Journal Entry 2 by JudySlump612 at by mail, A Bookbox -- Controlled Releases on Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Released 10 yrs ago (3/13/2013 UTC) at by mail, A Bookbox -- Controlled Releases


Placed in Aberpeter's Read and Journaled bookbox

Journal Entry 3 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Wednesday, March 20, 2013
I've already read this book so I'm leaving it in the box for someone else, but wanted to add my comments:

The story is a wonderful (and heartbreaking) mix of pragmatism, heroism, and growing fear; the world's vision of what doomsday might look like has changed quite a bit over the decades since this came out, but whatever other scenarios come to mind, the one described here still seems plausible - and the human reactions to inevitable doom are just as disturbing to read about. (JudySlump612 does have a point about the apparent absence of rioting, but it was a plot point I was willing to accept!)

The 1959 film version of the book is, I think, a classic; there was a recent remake that had some good points but that did not impress me as much as the original. [There's a short TV Tropes page on the book as well.]

Journal Entry 4 by JennyC1230 at Woodstock, Georgia USA on Saturday, March 30, 2013
This book stopped here for a short visit in Woodstock, Georgia. It is still travelling in Aberpeter's Read and Journalled Bookbox.

Journal Entry 5 by Aberpeter at Kirkland, Washington USA on Monday, July 8, 2013
This book came home in my Read and Journaled bookbox. Based on the reviews below I'm looking forward to reading this.

Journal Entry 6 by Aberpeter at Renton, Washington USA on Friday, March 17, 2023

Released 2 mos ago (3/17/2023 UTC) at Renton, Washington USA


Cleaning up Mt. TBR - Sending to whiskeyjane where the book will be donated to the Veteran's Hospital.

Journal Entry 7 by whiskeyjane at Albuquerque, New Mexico USA on Tuesday, March 21, 2023
This book arrived safely in today's mail in a terrific box of books from Aberpeter! This book will have some new readers at the Veteran's Hospital!

*I remember my mom really liked this book and enjoyed the movie! (The 1959 original movie) And I can remember her telling us about it!

LITTLE SUMMARY: The novel details the experiences of a mixed group of people in Melbourne as they await the arrival of deadly radiation spreading towards them from the Northern Hemisphere, following a nuclear war the previous year. As the radiation approaches, each person deals with impending death differently

Journal Entry 8 by whiskeyjane at Albuquerque, New Mexico USA on Tuesday, March 21, 2023
WELCOME TO BOOKCROSSING Congratulations! You found a traveling book! This book has been set free It is yours to keep or share Please take a moment to make a journal entry to let me know the book has found a new home

Journal Entry 9 by whiskeyjane at V.A. Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico USA on Friday, March 24, 2023

Released 2 mos ago (3/24/2023 UTC) at V.A. Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico USA


I dropped this book off at the VA Hospital

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