On The Beach is so good, it’s terrifying

On the Beach is a gripping novel of suspense and horror by a master storyteller.

I burst into tears after I finished it.

Nevil Shute (a pen name; his real name is Norway) writes quietly, warmly about people who seem familiar. There’s no blood and gore in this novel:  just the raw horror of seeing the personal effects of world events.

The book opens Dec. 27 in Australia in the aftermath of a nuclear war that wiped out life in the northern hemisphere.

Radioactive particles in the atmosphere are slowly making their way south. Scientists predict they will have reached Australia by September.

Australian naval officer Peter Holmes, assigned as liaison officer on an American nuclear submarine—one of two remaining American vessels in the world—invites American Captain Dwight Towers home for the weekend.

Peter’s wife gives a party, inviting Moria Davidson to amuse the captain. Moria falls hard for the captain; he likes her, too, but he loves his wife and kids back home in Connecticut.

Besides, he has a job to do.

Radio signals have been coming intermittently from Puget Sound. Mostly the signals have been gibberish, but there have been occasional decipherable words. Captain Towers is sent to investigate.

What happens after that will terrify anyone who keeps up with world news.

On the Beach
by Nevil Shute
William Morrow,  1957.  320 pages.
#8 on the 1957 bestseller list.
My grade: A+
©2007 Linda Gorton Aragoni
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Linda Aragoni

I read. I write. I think. I make big ideas simple. I help teachers teach expository writing to teens and adults. In my free time, I read and review old novels.

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