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4.4 out of 5 stars
A Town Like Alice
Format: Mass Market PaperbackChange
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Showing 1-3 of 3 reviews(2 star)show all reviews
on September 12, 2002
I just finished reading A Town Like Alice for what must be the 12th-plus time in a 20-year love affair with this story. The range of reviews for the book surprised me. What other readers saw as boring I saw as the refreshing way Nevil Shute tells a complex story where the events speak for themselves, without resorting to schmaltz or over-dramatization. The strength of Jean's character alone is a standout in quiet feminie heroism. The prior reviews have also criticized the handling of Joe Harmon's character as being "two-dimensional", but I believe Mr. Shute remains true to Joe's quiet and simple nature--and the story is, after all, mainly Jean's anyway.
As to the complaints of racism, the novel represents what was then the unfortunate attitudes of the white settlers to the Aboriginal natives. Would the same reviewers have criticized Margaret Mitchell's handling of black slaves in Gone With the Wind? A Town Like Alice shows realism in characters and their attitudes, it is not a story of civil rights or political correctness.
A truly moving and poignant love story, one of the best of its time and indeed, of today as well.
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on May 9, 2000
Shute has a fluid writing style, and keeps the reader moving along, but to what purpose? It is such a period piece, celebrating the stiff upper lip to the nth-degree. Disparaging those silly women on the death march who weakly gave into showing their suffering. The good children never whimpered once Mother is laid to her final rest. This book is a touchstone for understanding the romance of the British middle classes at mid-century. It perfectly details the arrogance of the Great White conqueror.
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on May 18, 2000
I didn't think it was boring. But, it was extrememly unbelieveable, which turned me off quite a bit. Jean annoyed me very much. Plus, I didn't like her racist character. I didn't really get the whole Mr. Strachen thing. How did he know about everything they said to be able to narrate the story.
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