Book Review

2001-5/November 1, 2001

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Last month, I thanked all our friends around the world who had extended their sympathies and support following the events of September 11. I specifically mentioned the wonderful citizens of Gander, Newfoundland and the surrounding communities, who opened their hearts and their homes to my daughter and to the thousands of other travelers stranded there until the skies of the United States were opened again to international air traffic.

Anyone interested in the part Gander's residents played in the first few days following our national tragedy, might like to check out: They all seem to spring from the pages of a Nevil Shute novel - decent, ordinary people, faced with extraordinary circumstances, and accomplishing extraordinary things.


Jack Calaway has added yet another nice touch to the web site. Those of you who have checked out the site lately will have noticed the newly added WHAT'S NEW section. With this addition, it is no longer necessary to review the various pages to see if a new book review, character analysis, newsletter, or whatever has been added since you last visit. The new section lists all recent additions to the web site and has links directly to each.

Speaking of the web site, our new host has a nice system for tracking hits. It does not tell us who our visitors are, but it does a very credible job of record keeping. Presently, we are averaging over 1,000 hits per day, with over 200 requests for separate pages! I guess some of that can be attributed to casual browsing, but it still suggests a lot of interest in Nevil out there. In addition to the electronic score keeping, , we received mail to the web site from eight countries this month.


Although we do have a nice selection of book reviews, we can certainly use more. It would not hurt to have a half dozen reviews of each book. The one thing we are all qualified to do is to write personal impression reviews of books by our favorite author.


Things are picking up with our CHARACTER ANALYSES. As you will no doubt notice by checking WHAT'S NEW, we have received three recent additions, Tom Cutter (Round the Bend), by Beall Fowler, Donald Ross (An Old Captivity) by Fred Erisman, and Molly Gordon (Lonely Road) by Patt Erisman. Patt has also promised to do a series of character analyses on the ladies of Nevil Shute, and to tie them together with a summary.

To me, this is one of the more interesting parts of the web site - examining Nevil's ordinary people who are so capable of achieving extraordinary things. How about some more participation from our readers?


The NSN Lending Library is staying very active at home and abroad. This past month, we continued to provide loaner books, audio tapes, and videos to our old customers, and added several new customers, and one more country - Scotland.

Don't forget. Every book ever published by Nevil Shute, all 21 that have been dramatized as audio books, nine of the ten films that have been based on his books (LONELY ROAD is the single exception), and all his unpublished manuscripts, are available on loan from the library. There is never any charge other than postage.


Fred Weiss of Paper Tiger has done it again. This from Fred:

I'm pleased to announce the availability of Lonely Road and The Mysterious Aviator to my series of Nevil Shute hardcover reprints. (That now makes a total of 8).

I'm also offering a special price on all 8 titles at:

As always NSL members can email me privately to receive additional discounts on any of my titles or combinations of titles.

Once again I'd like to thank our very own Johan Bakker for his invaluable assistance in meticulously proofreading our scans in preparation for printing.



No change (unfortunately) since last month.


We frequently receive letters asking for information related to Nevil Shute and his work. I usually try to provide at least a short answer. However, I encourage all readers to address these questions, either directly to the writer, or through Letters to the Editor.

This from in Scotland:

Dear Sir:

I am studying the book A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute for an English exam and have been unable to find a copy here in Scotland of the 1980 serialisation of this book staring Helen Morse and Bryan Brown. I would be very grateful if you could contact me by e-mail to let me know if it would be possible to borrow a copy of this video from your Nevil Shute Lending library.

Your Sincerely

Lynne Choat

(The library loaned a video set of the ATLA miniseries to Lynne.)

From in Spain:

Dear nevilshute org.

I am a very fond of the NS books, many of them I can read again and again. I have a question. Where can I find the information of NS enormous interest in the occult world, reincarnation etc.?

Looking forward to an answer. Many kind regards from sunny Spain

Flemming Dichmann

(I wrote a short answer and recommended The Airmen Who Would Not Die, and The Millionth Chance as sources. Any other food for thought for Flemming?)

From in Hong Kong:

Dear Sir:

I am a fan of Nevil Shute's books and his life. I live and work in Hong Kong where his books & the films based on them are hard to find.

I just wanted to say thank you very much for your splendid web site. I guess I like all of his books but perhaps among my favourites are Trustee from the Toolroom, Around the Bend and A Town Like Alice.

Again this is just a letter of appreciation. At a later date I might avail of your library service. I have never come across anything similar on the web before and think it's a marvellous idea.

With kind regards.

Julian Stargardt

From in the US:

Dear Sir:

Do you know if anyone is working, seriously working, on screen plays of any Shute novels? It seems to me that most, although not all, of them would make good films (beyond the ones that have already been done, of course).

Thanks for any information you can give me.

John Mayer
20 Chestnut #807
Wyandotte MI 48192

(We have received several requests for information/assistance from sources wanting to make films based on NSN's work. We usually catch them up on what has been done to date, and recommend that they get in touch with NSN's literary agents, A. P. Watt in London. Thus far, I am not aware of significant progress on any of these projects.)

From in the US:

Dear Sir:

I just came across an ex-library copy of The Mysterious Aviator with defects. It is 1928 copy in fair condition, but I do not know if it is a first edition.

I could not find any others for sale through AMAZON. Do you know if this 1928 edition is a scarce item?

Any information would be appreciated.



(This posed a new question. I wrote to Barry assuring him that he did have a first edition since there was only one printing in 1928 of the Mysterious Aviator. It turns out that Barry's copy is printed by Haughton Mifflin, and I have a copy printed the same year copyrighted by Haughton Mifflin but printed by Grossett and Dunlop. I assume that his is a first edition and mine is a second printing. Comment?)

From in Canada:

Dear Sir:

I have just found your website today - and am thrilled to find that there are others who enjoy Nevil Shute's work as much as I do! I was only five when he passed away, but I find that his books continue to have a freshness that steps outside conventional chronology. I was excited to stand on his medallion in Sydney Harbour! I feel very fortunate to possess copies of all but An Old Captivity (I read it as an early teen), Kindling and Vinland the Good, although several of them are much-read paperbacks! Now I have confidence that I will be able to locate my missing titles.

I would very much like to be added to your newsletter list. Perhaps I will even be able to make it to a future gathering!

Many thanks,

Eleanor Swan
Gibsons, B.C.

From in Holland:

Dear Sir,

Please could you give me any information on the question why Nevil Shute used Slide Rule as title for his autobiography? Does exist any comments by Shute about this title?

Thanking in advance for your answer.

Met vriendelijke groeten/Kind regards,


(I wrote Simon and gave him a short answer. More thoughts/comments would be welcome)

That is it for now folks. Keep those cards and letters coming.

Regards from TLOE&E (The Land of Enchantment and Extraterrestrials),


Nevil Shute Norway