Nevil Shute Norway Foundation

Newsletter November 2017

Letters to the Editor

From Sally Chetwynd
I don't remember if I've posted information to you before on this author and his book, but perhaps Nevil Shute fans who are looking for stories with the same flavor will be interested in "Last Flight" by Tom Chase. The ending scenes are as powerful and gripping as the book blurb here describes.  Personally, I also particularly like the interaction between the veteran pilot and his cocksure young co-pilot, and the pilot's self-analysis during the flight, as he waffles between confidence in his own expertise and experience and insecurity that maybe advances in modern commercial flight have left him behind the times.

The book is available on Amazon and through the publisher, Peter E. Randall Publisher .

I haven't been reading much Shute lately - too many other books to go through, mostly research for an historical novel in the works - but I cherish my full collection of Shute's stories, and plan to add John Anderson's Shute biography soon.  (I had purchased John's book when it came out, but gave it to a fellow Shute fan as a gift.)  I think I'd like to look again for James Riddell's autobiographical book "Flight of Fancy" about his role as navigator with Shute on their 1948-1949 journey to Australia in Item Willie.  I read Riddell's book in tandem with Anderson's book, and often became confused when the stories in the two books wove together chronologically.  Fascinating!  Riddell's book also was a gift for my friend.

My personal Shute favorites are "A Town Like Alice," "The Far Country," "Kindling," "An Old Captivity," and "Requiem For A Wren," this last which is heartbreaking but beautifully wrought.

Another author whom Shute readers might enjoy, although the stories are completely different, is also English and partly contemporary to Shute - M. M. Kaye, whose husband was of some import in the British military, and she traveled with him to various foreign outposts.  She was also born and raised in (British) India.  She wrote several novels, based in Persia, Zanzibar, and other places, as well as at least two set in India.  Her most famous novel is "The Far Pavilions," a huge volume about an English boy whose parents die in northern India while doing scientific research. The toddler's nanny cares for him and raises him.  Being dark-haired and dark-skinned, he grows up thinking he is an Indian.  When military strife rakes the land and the nanny is dying from poor health and age, she sends the boy to the nearest British outpost with the paperwork she has preserved proving his heritage.  He is sent to his family in England, sent to a military school, and upon graduation, returns to India to join the British forces.  He is conflicted throughout the rest of the story, as he knows he is English by blood, but he is Indian at heart.  Someone in this newsletter mentioned Shute's authentic voice for the locales he uses in his work - Kaye's authenticity rings clear in her works as well.

From Theo Prijs

A fortnight ago – on Sunday, October the 22nd – for the second time in the Netherlands, 8 enthusiastic Nevil Shute readers gathered in that beautiful Huntingroom of the old Watermill near the Singraven Manor at Denekamp. Normally I should say to discuss the book ‘Pastoral’ and indeed at the end of our session we succeeded! (Thanks again Sally Rossetti for your “warning”.) From 10:30 a.m. on we – the ‘old’ four, Bim Bensdorp, Joost Meulenbroek, Gé Snoek and myself and the ‘newcomers’, all ladies, Lies Klem, Bettina Neezen, Karin van Putten and my wife Wiesje -  talked very much about Nevil Shute and all things around him and even about ourselves, why we are so enthusiastic of the books of NS, what book was the first one you read and how many times you did read your favourite and so on. Lies Klem  brought with her a box full of the double books she received after a “searching-call’ published in a newspaper. A nice story in itself.(*) The other members could have a search in it and what is left will be taken to the NS library by Joost and Bettina.  Time flies on such a meeting and before we did realised it time was up. Some of us had to drive for over two hours! We all enjoyed being together and in the little time left we agreed that surely there must come a third meeting, which will be in springtime next year, somewhere in the northern part of our country. We are looking forward to it!


From Gadepalli Subrahmanyam

Though I read "On The Beach" long ago, I had not the heart to re-read it, as I have been fond of doing most of his other novels, ATAL,NH, RC, OC, P,TCB,TFTTR, etc. Since i have acquired a brand new set of his books, I braved myself to read it again. It disturbed me for at least, three days. I took a tangent to find flaws in it, since it is not my favourite.

Though depicted graphically, and with exactitude Nevil Shute is famous for, it seems to have one flaw. When Yeoman Swain deserts his submarine and starts fishing, apparently in highly dangerous radio active waters, he was shown holding a salmon he caught. How come fish survived the nuclear radiation, for two full years, when all other living beings were shown as non-existent , and Swain himself was shown to have hardly a few days life left ?

Some of our more loyal Shutists might correct me.

P.S: These Vintage books showed on the pages giving information on the publishing data, "Nevil Shute has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work".
How I wish that he did so, in 1988, without of course, leaving this world in 1960 itself!

From Lies Klem

As a child I have read several Nevit Shute books. Last winter I was reading some books again and then got curious of titels I did not know. In Holland there is a national newspaper, called Algemeen Dagblad and this newspapaper has a daily item where readers can send in requests or questions for other readers of the newspaper. So this summer I send a request asking readers of the newspaper wether they had Nevil Shute books for me. The response was really great, I got over 50 Emails from all over Holland. People offered me books, but also had questions and suggestions. Because people asked me also if I had spare copy's for them, I decided to let all offered book be send to me or that I went to them to pick up the book. So I gathered rather a lot of books. During visits to pick up books I had nice talks to for me unknown persons and lots of cups of coffee at their homes.

One of the most moving offers was from a 94 year old lady who has 7 books. She wrote that she did not yet want to part with the books because she wanted to reread them. But she asked for my adress and offered to put this in each book so after her passing away, the books would be send to me. This really moved me and since then we have regular contact by Email.

After gathering all the books (in English and Dutch), I made an inventory and since then have send off books all over Holland.

When de NS club Holland had a meeting on 22 oktober, I took all my spare books with me and have given them to Joost, the Dutch editor. He can take them with him to the UK when there is a next NS meeting there or to donated them to the library of the foundation.

I was really surprised how many people there are in Holland knowing books of Nevil Shute.  

It was a fun project to do and gave me new contacts with nice people from all over Holland.  

Wanted! Books in the English language

Who has the works of Nevil Shute for me?

I am looking for books in the English language of the British writer Nevil Shute. He has written many books, all books are welcome, especially Slide Rule and Parallel motion. Expenses will be reimbursed.



Again, not a very long, but an interesting newsletter. I do hope that you are pleasantly surprised by it’s format.
This format has several advantages, both for you as the reader and for us, as foundation. We are not 100% ready with the changes that we have to make, as soon as we are, we will let you know.
In the mean time, let us know what you think of this format.
>From the Netherlands, where it now really is autumn/fall,

See you all next month.