Nevil Shute Norway Foundation

Book Review

By Shirley Norway

I am just re-reading some of my father's books after fifty or fifty-five years. Dad always gave each member of the family a signed copy of the first edition - most of mine I lent and lost - the rest have the dust jackets destroyed. How can I face Fred ? (Fred Weiss, of Paper Tiger)

Anyhow that is of mere financial consideration. Happily the real worth of the books will remain forever. I am enjoying them immensely.

The current one is So Disdained and I am surprised at how much of my mother is in there. She was a doctor of medicine and he always checked his medical stuff with her. She was also a photographer and a musician. He was not fond of music. But in So Disdained there is so much of all these things.

Comments on What Happened To The Corbetts and On The Beach

In What Happened To The Corbetts Dad foretold the German bombing of England, but this was not his main motivator. My Mother was a doctor of medicine and when it was obvious that there would be a war, she worked with the local authorities to prepare people for gas attacks. Dad was enraged because he realized that the prevailing winds would bring the gas westward to Germany itself and that therefore they would be unlikely to use it. He wrote Corbetts as a reaction to that.

Incidentally I do believe that On the Beach started the CND ( Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament ) in England and the Peace movement in the US. I may be wrong. It was indeed a very powerful book when it was first published. It was also the book which seemed to me to absorb him more than any other. It certainly absorbed me. I first read it in manuscript.

Langwarrin Cottage cir: 1950
Langwarrin Cottage (1950)

A big floppy old manuscript that could not be read in bed. I sat up until four in the morning reading it at a table - in the cottage for those of you who have been to Langwarrin - causing myself severe back pain. But I couldn't stop. It was also the book he talked about more than any other. We had had it at breakfast, lunch and dinner for a couple of years before publication.