After the war is over, a radioactive cloud begins to sweep southwards on the winds, gradually poisoning everything in its path.
An American submarine captain is among the survivors left sheltering in Australia, preparing with the locals for the inevitable.
Despite his memories of his wife, he becomes close to a young woman struggling to accept the harsh realities of their situation.
Then a faint Morse code signal is picked up, transmitting from the United States and the submarine must set sail through the bleak ocean to search for signs of life. On the Beach is Nevil Shute's most powerful novel.
Both gripping and intensely moving, its impact is unforgettable.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 320 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Publishing
- Publication Date: 03/09/2009
- Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780099530251
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by jbrubacher
In 1960 the Northern Hemisphere destroys itself with a quick effective volley of nuclear bombs. This book tells the story of a few of those left in Australia who are waiting for the radiation to kill them. They know when it will happen and they react in different ways. But mostly they don't do much of anything. The story is told as if everyone with passion destroyed themselves, and only the most mild people remain. Some of them deny their impending death and plan for years down the line. Some of them dismiss it: "Oh well, no use worrying." It's bizarre and occasionally off-putting. It's an apocalypse, and it's almost dull. But there's poignance also, and aside from the political statement there's an emotional statement, too. The author starts the book with Eliot's quote, "This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper." But I think the situation is better described by Shute himself in his own words, on page 149: "They had a cup of tea before the dying fire."
Review by boabflower
What a great read!! It was gripping and poignant and at times really funny. A hard to put down book.