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On the Beachby Nevil Shute
Forget bumps in the night — is anything really scarier than certain death and the apocalypse? Written in 1947 and filmed in 1949, and again in 2000, On the Beach is a psychological novel about the human response to impending doom. Atomic war has come, and a group of survivors in southern Australia watch as city by city, nation by nation goes dark as the fallout makes its way down toward them. As the situation grows darker, some go crazy and some take refuge in routine — and others in unbridled hedonism. The dread and hopelessness intensify with every turn of the page, cranking up the anxiety even though we know how this ends — there will be no survivors. It's the only book I've ever had a nightmare about after finishing.
Synopses & Reviews
Nevil Shute’s most powerful novel — a bestseller for decades after its 1957 publication — is an unforgettable vision of a post-apocalyptic world.
After a nuclear World War III has destroyed most of the globe, the few remaining survivors in southern Australia await the radioactive cloud that is heading their way and bringing certain death to everyone in its path. Among them is an American submarine captain struggling to resist the knowledge that his wife and children in the United States must be dead. Then a faint Morse code signal is picked up, transmitting from somewhere near Seattle, and Captain Towers must lead his submarine crew on a bleak tour of the ruined world in a desperate search for signs of life. Both terrifying and intensely moving, On the Beach is a remarkably convincing portrait of how ordinary people might face the most unimaginable nightmare.
"The most shocking fiction I have read in years. What is shocking about it is both the idea and the sheer imaginative brilliance with which Mr. Shute brings it off." The San Francisco Chronicle
“The most haunting evocation we have of a world dying of radiation after an atomic war.” The New York Times
“A novelist of intelligent and engaging quality, deservedly popular....Nevil Shute was, in brief, the sort of novelist who genuinely touches the imagination and feeling.” The Times (London)
They are the last generation, the innocent victims of an accidental war, living out their last days, making do with what they have, hoping for a miracle. As the deadly rain moves ever closer, the world as we know it winds toward an inevitable end....
About the Author
Nevil Shute Norway was born in 1899 in Ealing, London. He studied Engineering Science at Balliol College, Oxford. Following his childhood passion, he entered the fledgling aircraft industry as an aeronautical engineer working to develop airships and, later, airplanes. In his spare time he began writing and he published his first novel, Marazan, in 1926, using the name Nevil Shute to protect his engineering career. In 1931 he married Frances Mary Heaton and they had two daughters. During the Second World War he joined the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve where he worked on developing secret weapons. After the war he continued to write and settled in Australia where he lived until his death in 1960. His most celebrated novels include Pied Piper (1942), A Town Like Alice (1950), and On the Beach (1957).
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