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A Town Like Alice Mass Market Paperback – 1 Mar 1991

4.6 out of 5 stars 240 customer reviews

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Mass Market Paperback, 1 Mar 1991
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 279 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reissue edition (Mar. 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345353749
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345353740
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 2 x 17.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (240 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,624,017 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"This direct, simply told story is about honest, dogged virtues, at least as redolent of its era as street parties or 'We'll Meet Again'" (The Times)

"A Town like Alice is the most romantic book I've ever read...Jean's determination to survive is inspirational, and the love she finds later is beautiful" (Catherine Tate Mail on Sunday)

"A ripping tale of budding romance and grace under pressure" (The Times)

"A heart-rending tale of torture, human fortitude and forbearance, inhumanity and hardship" (Sunday Times)

"That supreme storyteller, Nevil Shute...I could hardly bear to put the book down. I read it voraciously for days" (May Lovell The Times) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'Probably more people have shed tears over the last page of A Town Like Alice than about any other novel in the English language ... remarkable.' (The Guardian)

'A Town like Alice is the most romantic book I've ever read ... Jean's determination to survive is inspirational, and the love she finds later is beautiful.' (The Mail on Sunday)

'A ripping tale of budding romance and grace under pressure.' (The Times)

'A heart-rending tale of torture, human fortitude and forbearance, inhumanity and hardship.' (The Sunday Times) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have just re-read this book for the umpteenth time and I still love it as much as I did after reading it the first time. One of the really powerful features of this book is the fact that although the book is fiction, the foundation of the story is based on the experience of countless women and children who found themselves captured by the Japanese during World War 2.
I'd say that this book has everything. It's a book about remarkable survival and remarkable people. It's an adventure book. It's a love story. The characters are very sympathetic and you can't help liking them and hoping that they find happiness. It's one of the few books I've read that I've actually wanted a sequel to.
For a man of his generation I also think that Mr Shute wrote about Jean Paget with an insight that's second to none. I'm well impressed.
On a whole, it's a very well written page-turner that I thoroughly enjoy every time I pick it up.
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Format: Paperback
I have read and reread this book over many years. Once you become a fan of Nevil Shute you will want to read all his books. Take it on holiday and give it your all. Let yourself be submersed in the period; a different age to now with a different style of hero. This story is of ordinary people, with an extrarordinary tale to tell. A meeting of 2 people, both victims of the Japanese, who fall in love under the harshest of conditions and then do it all over again, 6 years later when the war is over. Read it more than once to get the full benefit.And then go onto read more from the famous author, who had so many qualities and gifts. How could he be an engineer, serve in secret operations in the war, be a sailor and a pilot and go on long distance air ship travel, as well as write all these novels.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I finally discovered this quite famous book and I liked it a lot. Below, more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS.

In Post-World War II London, an aging solicitor, Noel Strachan, becomes a trustee in charge of a considerable sum of money left by one of his clients and starts looking for the heirs. He quite quickly finds out that there is only one person left – Jean Paget, a young woman working as secretary in a leather goods factory. He writes her, they meet and then have to meet some more because there are legal things to do about the money and inheritance. Soon Noel Strachan realises that this unassuming, mousy, introverted girl is in fact a war veteran who went through real hell between 1941 and 1945. That takes care of about first 20 pages and then the book really begins… The only thing I will say about the rest of the story is that we ultimately learn the whole truth about her war time tribulations and then observe what she will do with her inheritance – and her life…

The first attribute of a good novel is that it tells an interesting story and here there is no questions that this is the case. There are roughly three parts in the book and each of them is fascinating, beginning of course with the most tragic one, the 1941-1945 period. "A town like Alice" includes large parts concerning the fate of Western women when in hands of the Japanese and it was amongst the first such account to be published, although the deservedly famous true memoir "Three came home" by Agnes Newton Keith was published already in 1947. Nevil Shute was inspired to write this book by his meeting and conversations with Carry Geysel, a Dutch lady who indeed survived imprisonment in Japanese concentration camps on Sumatra.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Again a book I have not read for some 40 years and again one I find that has lost nothing of its charm and appeal over the years. A gripping tale of the relationship between three people whistfully recounted by one of them, concerning the brief wartime acquainatnce and subsequent post war romance between the other two. Shute can be a bit 'clunky' in style from time to time but I found this not to be the case in this instance. For me the story flows as it unfolds and its main characters develop into truly believable people. ( I may be a bit influenced by the excellent film that was made of this book). Never-the-less I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone searching for a very well told story of human relationships with a happy ending.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Warning! This book is of its time, and certain aspects may "offend" those of a delicate cultural disposition.

But if you can accept that and see past it, this is a wonderful story of resilience and the triumph of the human spirit when faced with adversity.

It's a love story set against the backdrop of the Second World War and after, and across 3 continents. Beautifully written, and with a fast paced plot I read this book several times over the last 40 years and I have no doubt I'll read it again.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Had this as an abridged audio book years ago but reading the full text is even more moving. If it had not been for the Japanese, I would have been born in Malaya as my father had been a quantity surveyor with what was then called 'The Air Ministry' based in Singapore since 1936. When it became a war zone he was posted as Flight Lieutenant RAF and put into uniform. My mother was shipped home and 6 months later, father was (as a semi-civilian) sent home on the last boat to make it out of Singapore. Many of father's friends paid the ultimate price on the railway (and in Changi Jail)
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