2002-5/May 1, 2002
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NEVIL SHUTE LIBRARY CHANGES HANDS:
Management of the Nevil Shute Norway Foundation Library is now in the capable hands of Shutist Ed Yess, in Blanchester, Ohio. He has things up and running, with a number of active borrowers and a waiting list for the A Town Like Alice miniseries. Ed also has all of the old library records so, if you have borrowed anything in the past, he has your address, loan history, etc. (I have had more than one request to send a Shutist copies of everything he or she had not yet borrowed!)
To borrow items from the library, or to contact Ed for anything else, refer to the Library page on the web site.
We have added several new items to the web site, including a Family Photograph Album on the Reminisces page, and several examples of Nevil Shute's signature on the Etcetera page (just in case you want to see if that autograph on your Cassel edition of Marazan is genuine). We will continue to build the photograph album as well as additional input for Reminisces.
One other thing that we would really like to have is a voice recording. Shirley Norway once told me that she had heard a tape of a talk that her father gave. I believe that it was when he was in the Department of Miscellaneous Weapons Development of the British Admiralty during the war. However, the person who had the tape is deceased and his survivors are unaware of where the tape might be. Also, I believe that the speech that Nevil made when he was in the US trying to drum up support for the war against Germany was recorded. I once read a transcript of the speech, which was probably made from a recording. However, I have no idea how one would go about finding a copy. Anyone out there have any suggestions?
Our Webmeister, Jack Calaway has pointed out that we do not have a review of Julian Smith's biography of Nevil Shute. Would someone be willing to take this on?
There is a new review of Trustee from the Toolroom on the Bibliography/Book Review page of the web site. This one was sent to us by Art Cornell, who discovered it in one of his older copies of the book. It was written by Clifton Fadiman for the Book of the Month Club News, when Trustee was first published. Mr. Fadiman was apparently something of a snob and, although he had high praise for the readability of the book, he did not think it had a great deal of literary merit. Two direct quotes from the review are:
--An exciting story, honestly conceived, even if devoid of much literary grace--
--A book that is certainly not destined for the ages, but equally sure to afford a couple of evenings of delightful entertainment--
I wonder where Mr. Fadiman is now, and what he would think of Trustee being a close third behind A Town Like Alice and Round the Bend on the list of favorite Nevil Shute books!
Favorite book votes continue to come in. A Town Like Alice, Round the Bend, and Trustee still have firm hold of the top three slots. (See comments above) Check out the latest results at Favorite Books Score Card at What's New or under the Bibliography page on the web site.
In last month's Letters to the Editor, Fred Erisman pointed out some amazing similarities between a number of passages in The Rainbow and the Rose, and in The War Birds, a book written thirty-two years earlier. The passages in question deal with the life and times of First World War aviators. I have obtained a copy of the War Birds, which is quite an interesting book in its own right, and reviewed the similar passages. If anything, Fred understated the case. There are a number of passages that are nearly identical. This deserves some explanation.
Of course, it is unthinkable that Nevil copied from another book. At the point in his writing career when The Rainbow and The Rose was written, he certainly did not need to copy from anyone. Also, the passages in question were not at all key to the story. There was no reason to copy them. Finally, the one thing that makes us all love Nevil's work is the morality of his characters. I, and many other Shutists, are convinced that Nevil drew the morality of his characters from his own value system. In short, I am absolutely convinced that the passages in question were not copied from The War Birds.
My own theory, based on a review of the passages in question, was that they were common to the lore of post-WWI aviators. Good war stories have a way of assuming lives of their own and, that which may have happened to someone else, sometimes is remembered as happening to the person telling the story. Nearly all veterans like to spin yarns about their wartime experiences, and pilots are generally the worst of the lot. My belief is that both Nevil and the author of The War Birds heard these stories from some WWI aviator or another, and incorporated them legitimately, and separately, into the two books. I have begun an informal investigation attempting to find someone who has heard reference to the passages in question elsewhere.
Anyone else have any ideas?
From HREM Steph Gallagher:
Dear Friends.LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
From in Paris:
Dear Dan:From in Brisbane:
Dan,From in the UK:
Just for the record - in the retyped article on Shute and the R100, the river on which Howden stands is the Ouse and the nearby town is Goole.From in Maine:
Hi,Note: I have corresponded with John and learned that he has a copy of the 1934 Balliol Yearbook, including a reference to an alumnus of growing Note: Nevil Shute Norway. He is sending me a copy of the yearbook entry, and I will likely publish it in next month's newsletter and/or put it on the web site.
From in the UK:
Note: James had written me previously offering a first edition of The Far Country for sale. I told him that I would be happy to list his offer in the newsletter if he would provide details. Anyone wishing to make an offer for the book should contact James directly.
HiThat's it for now folks. Keep those cards and letters coming.
Regards from the Land of Enchantment and Enchiladas,
Nevil Shute Norway Foundation
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