Strength and courage

I'd forgotten what a good author Nevil Shute was. It was many years ago that I read No Highway.

A Town Like Alice is better in my opinion. He spares the expansive rhetoric you get from lesser writers and concentrates on the story, narrating in the classic show don't tell style.

I was completely absorbed by the lead character, Jean. The trials she endured and the courage she found were an inspiration. She maintains the sense of right and wrong and doesn't seek revenge or judgemental retribution. Throughout, she wants to give back to all who help her. It is always an interesting test for a reader - if you wish you could meet the person then they have completely grabbed you. This was the case for me.

Set in 1950, there are a few moments that now seem politically incorrect. There is even a positive description of them using DDT. The important thing to remember is the context. This is a piece of work of the time, recording the world as it was. There is no need to change what is set in history.

Its relevance is undiminished. The determination of a young woman in a world of war and hard men is just as meaningful now. I liked how he portrayed the soldiers and Australian ringers as believable people.

I would recommend those who are unfamiliar with Shute's work to read this, and for anyone better acquainted to take the time to revisit this fine novel.