A Town Like Alice

Shute, Nevil

Book - 2010
Average Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
A Town Like Alice
"A tale of love and war, follows its enterprising heroine from Malayan jungle during World War II to the rugged Australian outback." -- Cover, p.4.

Publisher: New York : Vintage International, c2010
Edition: 1st Vintage International ed. Feb. 2010 2009 ed
ISBN: 9780307474001
Branch Call Number: FICTION SHUTE 2010
Characteristics: 350 p. ;,21cm


From Library Staff

Join the discussion on Aug. 17, 2015. Shute’s most beloved novel, a tale of love and war, follows its enterprising heroine from the Malayan jungle during World War II to the rugged Australian outback.

Former POW Jean Paget leaves England to return to Malaysia to build a well in the small village where she and other POWs found refuge during the World War II. Her journey takes an unexpected turn when she travels to Australia to find the soldier who helped her during her captivity.

From the critics

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Sep 19, 2014
  • chelery rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I found the writing rather flat. The love story was predictable. The history of the women marching around "Malaya" and the portrayal of life in the Outback were the best parts.

Sep 05, 2014
  • Sarah1984 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

19/7 - This was written in 1950, it uses language common to 1950. These facts have to be remembered when reading A Town like Alice, and reacting to said language. The characters use words like 'Abos', 'Nips', 'Boongs', and other offensive names for the indigenous people of Malaya and Australia, and the invading Japanese forces. This type of language makes me feel uncomfortable while reading the book, but at the same time I accept that this was simply the way people talked in those days. So, if I (or any other reader) wants to read books written before this decade, I have to be aware of the possibility that there is going to be some offensive - racist, sexist, misogynistic - language, and I can't yell and scream at the book because of it.

21/7 - Great book, just wish it had been a little longer, I didn't want it to end. While Willstown was fictional, there is a Burketown (also mentioned in the book, and could possibly be considered the inspiration for Willstown). Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, Burketown didn't prosper under the care of a Jean-like character and nearly 150 years after its establishment it's still languishing with a population of only 173. Their peak population occurred in 1911 at 265. They don't even have a public swimming pool, a dream of Jean's for Willstown.

Jan 27, 2014
  • JackieFC13 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book was amazing! My grandfather sent it to me as one of his "good friends". He was right, it is now one of mine that I will recommend to friends! It was a wonderful book. A story about courage, survival,adventure, love, and personal growth. Who wouldn't wanna read a book like that? I don't even know how to describe other than just pick it up and give it a shot. :)

Oct 16, 2013
  • allisonmaginot rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Absolutely loved this book. I've never read much about Australia, but through the author's vivid depictions of the outback the country came to life. Great story about a courageous young woman, a thoughtful older man, and a brave Aussie...all characters who teach about human sacrifice and kindness.

Dec 29, 2012
  • rgally rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Just finished my 2nd reading of this wonderful story of love and hardship and endurance. Also love the made for TV version of it from the 80s with Bryan Brown and Helen Morse (?).

Highly recommended!

Shute was a very talented writer of tales of WW2 - worth looking for his other works

Oct 02, 2012
  • phoebewarren rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is a good book. The BBC made a series out of it that is wonderful.

Jul 10, 2012
  • Oc2seattle rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

A beautiful story of love, fortitude and the building up of an outback town.

Aug 12, 2011
  • elwright rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Also published as A Town Like Alice.

Jun 21, 2010
  • Bells rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

In his sparse, straightfoward style, Shute tells an unforgettable story of unbelievable hardships and an enduring love. Brilliant.


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Sep 05, 2014
  • Sarah1984 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Sarah1984 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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