Book Review

2003-6/June 2003


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Greetings from The Land of Enchantment. UK2003 is upon us!!!


From HREM (Her Royal Event Manageress) Steph Gallagher:

Dear Friends:

With the NSN UK 2003 conference being only a couple of weeks away, there is still time to register for what will be a memorable and exciting event. Please mail me directly at for full details.

As I write, all of our speakers and contributors are working with great gusto and enthusiasm to ensure that high standards of quality introduced at other NSN conferences will not be diminished at this one. As for me, I am putting finishing touches to arrangements, and trying to ensure that nothing has been overlooked. Though every hour I suddenly think of another task to be done.

For those of you who have registered for the event, I will send out some more details in due course. In brief, the conference will open with registration in the Queens Room of the hotel from 13:00 on Saturday 21st June 2003. The Film Festival and Exhibition Hall will also be open at that point.

All that remains is for me to say that it has been a rollercoaster 18 months pulling this conference together, I truly hope that you all enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed managing it.

Kindest regards, Steph

Steph Gallagher, NSN UK 2003 Conference Manager

An Addendum from Jack Calaway:
Assuming no one minds, and the creeks don't rise, I plan on posting a few pictures each day of the happening's at UK2003. Folks can find them through the What's New Section, or by clicking on the UK Flag at the top of the website home page.
One more addendum:
Frances Norway's Flight Log Book has been received from the Royal Victorian Aero Club. It will be on display at UK2003.

With a lot of good advice from Shutists who know about such things, we have begun converting all of the Nevil Shute films from video tape to DVDs so that there will be no further deterioration in their quality. Two of the films, the original On The Beach and The Far Country, are already available on DVD through Critic's Choice Critic's Choice Video. We had a trial DVD made at a local lab from our video tape set of the A Town Like Alice miniseries. It came out very well. We are now in the process of converting the remaining seven films. These DVDs will only be used for archives, and will not be available for loan. Commercial videos of the films will remain available for loan through the Nevil Shute Lending Library Nevil Shute Norway Foundation Lending Library.


This edition marks the completion of two years publication of the Newsletter. With the publication of the July 2003 Newsletter, we will begin our third full year of publication. Circulation remains at around 500, with new subscribers just about equaling those lost through closed e-mail accounts, etc.


I have been fortunate enough to obtain a Cassel first edition of Lonely Road to add to the Cassel first editions I have of Marazan and So Disdained. That only leaves Ruined City to complete my collection of Cassel editions! At present, I have extra Cassel first editions of both Marazan and So Disdained. I would consider trading one, or even both, for a good Cassel first edition of Ruined City. Anyone out there interested?


We have received word from Ms. Betsy Dearborn of Betsy Dearborn's Antiques that a chair used by Nevil while writing a number of his books has been offered for sale. See Ms. Dearborn's letter below.


One of our readers in Russia has offered to write an article for the Newsletter and/or the Website. It is rewarding to see how far Nevil's work has spread, and how many dedicated Shutists the newsletter and the Website reach. See the letter from Nikolay Fedorov below.


Donations to the Nevil Shute Norway Foundation, either through the PayPal button on the web site home page, or through are always appreciated. Also, anyone interested in leaving a bequest to the Nevil Shute Norway Foundation is encouraged to contact the Foundation Secretary at


Note: Letters to the Editor are published, complete with the name and e-address of the sender, unless the sender specifically asks that his or her name and/or e-address not be published. Also, we like to list letter writers' full names and locations, just to give our readers some idea of the areas of the world that the web site and newsletter cover. When writing, please include full name and country/state/region.

From in Russia:

Dear Mr. Telfair:

Thank you for Your letter. It is very nice for me to communicate with other Shutists. In Russia, unfortunately, the name of N. Shute is nearly unknown for common readers. Only two novels (The Pied Piper and On the Beach) were published in Russian by limited edition. Other novels of Shute I have read in English. But "On the Beach" is the best, despite I have some objections. This is the book about death, but at the same time it teaches us how to live.

I am a historian (specialist on naval history) and it was also interesting for me to observe the possible result of the Cold War and mentality of the people of this period.

It would be great pleasure for me to assist to your association, and, if it is possible, to write an article for your site.

Your Faithfully,

Nikolay Fedorov

From in Fairfield, Iowa:
Dear Sir:

This is to inform you and your network of Shute enthusiasts that an antique walnut carved Chippendale armchair was used by Nevil Shute at his desk for as long as his younger daughter, Shirley Norway can remember. It is at her home in Iowa, USA, and the good news is that it is now for sale.

All interested parties who would like to own it should contact me, her local broker at as soon as possible and I will send them detailed photos however they please. It is in "as found" condition. We believe it came to him through his wife's family that has been in Wales for the last 600 years. This is a very exciting offer, and I look forward to your responses.

In the past I arranged the sale of a large oil painting from his estate by Jean LeMayer. That was in 1998.

I can also be reached at my mailing address:

Betsy Dearborn
Betsy Dearborn Antiques
1003 South D Street
Fairfield, IA 52556
(641) 472-8058

From on The Isle of Wight:
Hi There:

First of all, thank you for a great site! I've been a huge fan of Nevil Shute ever since I read On The Beach in the late 60s (by the way, what a bloody awful interpretation of that book was done by Australian TV several years ago (starring Bryan Brown). If you haven't seen it, don't bother!!

I was wondering if you could help me, or point me in the right direction; some years ago, I got the complete collection of Nevil Shute novels published by a company called "Heron". They were hardback, maroon in colour with gold writing on the spine. They weren't the highest quality of books, but they were one up on paperbacks. Unfortunately, I lost the copy of Requiem for a Wren and I would dearly love to find a copy that I could buy. Any ideas?

My name, by the way, is Matt Biddlecombe, and I live on the Isle of Wight. Any help would be much appreciated!!

Kind regards


Note: We referred Matt to ABE - used, secondhand, rare, out-of-print, where he was able to purchase a copy of Requiem for a Wren to complete his set.

From Henrietta Chew in the UK: (E-address withheld by request)

Dear Sir:

I was introduced to N.S. by my late father - whose favourite was Requiem for a Wren. Mine are A Town Like Alice (The full version not the truncated one produced for school children in the '60s and perpetuated in the film starring Virginia McKenna.) and Pastoral. This last was broadcast as a play on BBC a few years back. Oddly, Gervaise, who is described by one of the characters as a lady was portrayed by an actress who thought she should assume a cod Yorkshire mill-girl's accent. It grated badly!

Incidentally The Far Country was dramatised as the Saturday afternoon play on BBC Radio 4 last week. Better characterisations but very scrappily adapted, I'm afraid.

Henrietta Chew



From in Canada:
Dear Sirs:

I saw a reference to your Trust in a copy of the Model Engineer this morning and it reminded me of my closest contact with Mr. Norway. I am of the generation which eagerly awaited the publication of each of his books and still have an almost complete collection in paper back editions.

In 1955 I went to work for The DeHavilland Aircraft Company at Hatfield as a graduate apprentice. The one year introduction, as I remember, involved a three month period in each of four departments. Two of these involved practical training at Hatfield Manor. The first period was in the work shop where we learned to drill, file and handle sheet metal, (I still use the toolmakers clamp I made), the second was in the drafting office upstairs. This was presided over by one of the nicest men it has ever been my pleasure to meet. Unfortunately I do not remember his name, but he was referred to as DeHavilland's Gentleman. As I had already completed several drafting courses and had been a drawing office apprentice before going to University, I was excused the drafting exercises and was instead given other projects. I remember measuring and detailing all the gears for, I believe, a Horche touring car gearbox. To do this work I had a drawing board in the far back corner of the office and stacked on the floor was a pile of what we then called exercise books. One day when the work load was particularly low, I started looking through these books. The one I particularly remember contained the design calculations and sketches for the undercarriage of the DH53 Humming Bird, and they were signed N. S. Norway. At that time the name meant nothing to me. I will admit, if it had, I would have been sorely tempted. Who knows, you might now be in receipt of an anonymous donation! It was some time later when I read "Slide Rule" that the penny dropped.

There was also an article in the Model Engineer about Mr. Norway that described the very fine workshop at his house, which was, I believe, on the Hamble and had not only a garage but also an under cover water facility for boats. If you have access to that article, I would very much like to read it again.

I remained at DeHavilland until the end of August 1958 working in the Instrument Laboratory and for the last two years was a Flight Test Instrument Engineer on several of the Comet Aircraft. That is another story.


Mike Delaney

From in Melbourne:
Dear Sir:

Thank you for a wonderful pick me up every month. I read my first Nevil Shute novel at the age of 10 (On the Beach) and have been an avid fan ever since. Nevil Shute is one of the few authors I regularly reread.

One of the best bargains I have ever found was a set of 14 maroon coloured hard book editions of Nevil Shute novels (distributed by Heron) - they were $5 a piece at a second hand book store.

I served in the Navy for twenty years and am now in the Naval Reserve so really identify with Shute's military characters (and the fact that he was a LCDR himself).

My favourite books are those set in my home state of Victoria and those with a military theme:

  1. Requiem for a Wren
  2. The Far Country
  3. On the Beach.

Keep up the great work.


From in Lawrenceville, Georgia:
Dear Dan:

I first read A Town Like Alice in the Readers Digest Condensed version in 1976 when I was 24. It zoomed to my Top Ten list of Favorite Books and has remained there ever since. I checked out the full version from the library and read it again. I watched it on PBS and taped it, and my version too, as one of your letter writers said, is poor and worn. I would buy a DVD version in a heartbeat. I purchased a hardback copy of it with The Legacy title a decade or so ago.

I then searched our public library shelves to read other books by Mr. Shute and from the list on your site, I have read about half of them, but most were read 20 years ago. Then a few months ago, I was searching for a book on tape to motivate me to take more walks when I found Pied Piper. I knew it was a sure thing, but I enjoyed it even more than I expected. Amazingly, my meager high school French was enough to understand the French in the book, and appreciate the French phrasing in some of the English spoken by the French characters.

Our library didn't have a copy of the book, so I looked for it on ebay, or, and now I own perfectly good hardback copy, which I read as soon as it came. John Howard is definitely my nomination for the best ordinary person doing extraordinary things.

I will return to your site again until I have read about your trip, and his D-Day, etc. I stumbled on it purely by accident, but what a treasure!

Thanks again,

Beth Moran

That's it for this month folks. Please keep those e-cards and e-letters coming.

Regards from The Land Of Enchantment,


Nevil Shute Norway