Posted in September 2013

The Chequer Board by Nevil Shute (1947)

Review by Thecla W: Capt. John (Jackie) Turner suffered a head injury in a plane crash during the War. A few years later, out of the army and back in his old job as a flour salesman, he has developed neurological symptoms such as dizziness and difficulty using one hand. These are the result of … Continue reading

The Far Country by Nevil Shute (1952)

This novel exerted a curious, oblique charm. Curious because I found myself consistently interested despite the story being so flatly told. Shute does not have an attractive writing style and one of the oddities of construction is apparent on the opening page. He tells us all about Tim Archer, a farm worker on a sheep … Continue reading

In the Wet by Nevil Shute (1953)

Review by Jane V: As far as I can remember this is the first Nevil Shute novel I have read. Once the reader has got over the ‘write a piece for the Parish mag about your recent amazing trip’ style (well, the narrator is a vicar from the home counties) (s)he is led into a … Continue reading

Nevil Shute (1899-1960)

This month our second reading group has been reading Nevil Shute. The discussion at our meeting on Tuesday was lengthy, and largely positive; three of us had been rather charmed by Shute’s novels, though it isn’t easy to put a finger on precisely what it is that he does so well. And to be clear, only three … Continue reading

The Autobiography of Howard Spring (1972)

Review by George Simmers (see his Great War Fiction blog here). Be warned:  this book’s title doesn’t describe its contents. This is nothing like a full autobiography, but is a collection of Spring’s three volumes of pleasant discursive memoirs, which ramble from topic to topic, without overmuch regard for chronological order or completeness. Interesting subjects … Continue reading

A Sunset Touch by Howard Spring (1953)

Review by Mary P: Roger Menheniot, a bank clerk of modest means, lives in a boarding house in London, living in a fantasy world. He believes himself to be the last of the Menheniots and dreams of living in Rosemullion, the family seat in Cornwall. He shuns the world of 1944 London, his fellow workers and … Continue reading

The Houses in Between by Howard Spring (1951)

This is a first-person narrative giving the life story of the fictitious Sarah Undridge, born in 1848. Her first memory is of the Crystal Palace, which then becomes a symbol and recurring image in her long life. It was called the Palace of Peace; all nations were to meet there in understanding. At the time … Continue reading

Fame is the Spur by Howard Spring (1940)

Review by George Simmers. See his Great War Fiction blog (with other posts on Howard Spring) here. This is a very readable, extremely absorbing, epic of the career of a Labour politician, tracing his life from childhood poverty to the House of Lords. It can be taken as strong’s version of the idealistic rise, and … Continue reading

Dunkerley’s by Howard Spring (1946)

Review by Sylvia D: I remember Howard Spring being a very popular writer when I was in my teens but as I was going through my “highbrow” period at the time, I chose not to read him!  When I started reading Dunkerley’s I thought at first I was going to be surprised but my initial … Continue reading