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Nevil Shute

Nevil Shute (1899-1960) is the pen name used by Nevil Shute Norway, a British writer who published more than two dozen novels.  His experiences as a soldier during World War I, as a volunteer naval reserve officer during World War II, and as pilot and aeronautical engineer are reflected in his work.  War often has an impact on his characters and it isn't unusual to find ships sailing and airplanes soaring through his texts.  The books that are arguably Shute's best were written during and after World War II.

Shute and his family moved to Australia in 1950, where he lived until his death.  Most of the novels Shute wrote after 1948, when he first piloted an airplane to Australia, are set in that country.

Shute wrote quiet novels about decent people who meet adversity with dignity and courage.  His prose style was never flashy; it never got in the way of the stories he told.  Those stories are often deeply moving.  Shute mastered the ability to balance the character-driven sensibility of literary fiction with the plot-centered demand of genre fiction.  Although his novels have fallen out of fashion, they are just as vital and haunting today as they were when they were first published.

More information about Shute is available in this Wikipedia article and at the website of the Nevil Shute Norway Foundation.

This is Nevil Shute's bibliography.

Shute's best known novels are A Town Like Alice and On the Beach.  Although they are both excellent, some of Shute's lesser known books are just as good.  The Nevil Shute novels reviewed on the Tzer Island book blog are:

Most Secret - a 1945 novel about a secret project to attack German ships in a French harbor that incorporates the elements of a wartime thriller, a spy novel, and a love story.

The Chequer Board - a 1947 novel about a man who, knowing he has less than a year to live, finds a way to make his remaining life meaningful.

The Breaking Wave - a 1955 novel (Tzer Island's favorite Shute novel) about a partially disabled veteran who learns about his own life by reading the diary of a woman who committed suicide on his parents' farm.


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