Nevil Shute Norway Foundation

Book Review


Reviewed by Jennifer Kelleher

The name of the book is Landfall - which means a sighting or approach to land. It is an ideal name for the book- because Jerry Chambers is a flying officer in the RAF. He must endure a lot of hardship before he is able to renew his self confidence and be assured of a future. Yet, the title also falls short of describing the romance and drama that surrounds him as he patrols the English Channel in WWII.

Jerry is a regular bloke even though he is upper class. As the chapter unfolds, you learn he is out with a barmaid named Mona - who is strictly common but whose family has some Naval background. They are very endearing from the get go - Shute describes them well, and takes the time to develop their relationship and foreplay. There is some allusion to their class differences but it is not much of a hindrance. They keep their relationship "comfortable" and at a slight distance unsure of their future. Jerry's biggest ordeal comes when he guns down what appears to be a nazi submarine - only to learn that by all counts it had to have been British. His own guilt, and the trouble with the Navy soon cause him to transfer to a bombing unit. His career and relationship with Mona are in shambles. However it is not long before he is back in Portsmouth doing risky test flights and working inadvertently with the Navy ! As Jerry's future as an officer looks its bleakest and every flight possibly his last. Mona begins an adventure of her own. Now we do not want to give anything away but let's just say she out does the Navy !

The characters of Landfall are not as involved as much as I like. but they are very endearing. Shute brings to life the simplest objects as well - a car, a ship model, a radio set. There are times when the characters get ahead of the reader - and sometimes the story moves too slowly. However - I would not want to underrate or give away the simple and ingenious conclusion to the story. The budding romance between the two characters is fun to watch - and this humble reader found the story quite refreshing and pleasantly thrilling.