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A Town Like Alice | [Nevil Shute]

A Town Like Alice

Wanting to repay a wartime debt to the Malays, Jean Paget returns. There she hears a story which leads her to Australia.
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Publisher's Summary

Wanting to repay a wartime debt to the Malays, Jean Paget returns. There she hears a story which leads her to Australia.

©1989 The Trustees of the Estate of the Late Nevil Shute Norway; (P)2008 BBC Audiobooks Ltd

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (95 )
5 star
 (61)
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 (27)
3 star
 (5)
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4.6 (38 )
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 (11)
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Story
4.6 (38 )
5 star
 (24)
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 (13)
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Performance
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  •  
    Colin CumbernauldUnited Kingdom 31/03/2009
    Colin CumbernauldUnited Kingdom 31/03/2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    94
    ratings
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    40
    24
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    "A Great Book Well Read"

    Despite this audiobook being produced decades ago Robin Bailey reads it so well that it is timeless. I can't wait to hear more of Nevil Shute titles.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rob Bratton, Wiltshire, United Kingdom 10/07/2009
    Rob Bratton, Wiltshire, United Kingdom 10/07/2009 Member Since 2009

    Gibbering fool

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    41
    3
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    "Revisiting my past"

    Great. I am listening to books that I read years ago and which left an impression on me. The story is one of great hardship and positivity. It is a well read story. I was hoping to find "On the Beach" by the same author (Nevil Shute), but alas. Cheers

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Crime Fiction Groupie High Wycombe, United Kingdom 30/06/2013
    Crime Fiction Groupie High Wycombe, United Kingdom 30/06/2013 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
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    29
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    "One of my favourite books - wonderful story"

    A favourite for years, lovely to see this one in the Audible library - an instant addition to the Wish List. Yes its very 'old fashioned', and 'terribly British' - emotions held in check. The story stands the test of time, and I hope it gets many new listeners.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    tru.gough Swindon, United Kingdom 23/12/2012
    tru.gough Swindon, United Kingdom 23/12/2012 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    5
    4
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    "amazing"

    My mother informed me this was a must read and I could not find it in any book shop i could not find it in the library and was thrilled and amazed that it was here. The story is brilliant the narrator does huge justice to the story, i agree a must listen to.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard FAREHAM, United Kingdom 23/04/2012
    Richard FAREHAM, United Kingdom 23/04/2012 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    30
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    21
    19
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    "Fabulous"

    I've never read any Nevil Shute before and I thoroughly enjoyed this. A terrifically engaging story superbly brought to life by the narrator. The only slight niggle is that you do need to be prepared to accept the borderline racism as being 'of its time'.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rupert Banbury, United Kingdom 16/04/2011
    Rupert Banbury, United Kingdom 16/04/2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    59
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    "A Nevil Shute Classic"

    A classic in storytelling and if not read at a young age then this audio version is a must

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Helen Richmond, United Kingdom 26/01/2013
    Helen Richmond, United Kingdom 26/01/2013 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    36
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    47
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    "A great listen"

    Yes, a little dated but but really brings alive the period, which is a slightly unfashionable one now. Also, I've always found the two parts of the story strangely disconnected. I think they could have made two books. However, it is a riveting story and very well read.



    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julian Woking, United Kingdom 24/11/2012
    Julian Woking, United Kingdom 24/11/2012 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    1
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    "Enjoyable story very well read"

    I read A Town Like Alice as a teenager and it was enjoyable to listen to the story again. In some ways Shute's tale is a little dated but in others he is remarkably up to date, for instance, his attitude to women being entrepreneurial. Robin Bailey reads the story remarkably well. The accents seemed just right and varied remarkably between the characters. Definitely recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-8 of 8 results
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  • Barbara
    MARIETTA, GA, United States
    26/03/11
    Overall
    "Better still in Audio form"

    This is a gentle and genteel adventure story, beautifully told, and even more wonderfully read. Robin Bailey hits the exact right note for every one of the many voices in this tale, and where I might have grown tired of reading this excellent book in print form (I love literature but have been spoiled by good audiobooks), it rolls along at a perfect pace for listening.

    The book itself is somewhat dated, and the casual racism of 1950s Australia is acknowledged and dismissed without further comment, but read in the context of its times it is a spirited pioneer story, a love story and tempered venture into feminism. One of the few audiobooks I will save for another listen in the future.

    37 of 37 people found this review helpful
  • Mary
    Scotia, NY, United States
    27/03/11
    Overall
    "Wonderful story, beautifully told"

    The story was amazing and engrossing from start to finish (well, not quite from the start; the very beginning sounded boring, with what seemed at the time to be an unneccessarily detailed narrative about an old man hiring a solicitor to write his will, and I almost switched to another book on my iPod. But I stuck it out and was quickly pulled into the story). The characters are wonderful and the plot is fascinating. It never gets slow; I found myself sitting in my car to continue listening when I'd get to work, reluctant to leave the story. I love the narration. The reader was perfect for this book. This is one of the most memorable stories I've listened to in my many years as an Audible subscriber.

    25 of 25 people found this review helpful
  • Nita L.
    Dryden, NY, USA
    20/07/09
    Overall
    "Could not quit listening"

    This was my first audiobook (book-on-tape in those days); I asked Audible to provide it and was pleased to see it recently appear. Thanks, Audible!

    On re-listening, it was even better than the first time. It is TERRIFIC. The story is spell-binding, somewhat historical and absolutely riveting. The narrator is simply superb. I can't imagine anyone from pre-teen age onward who would not be spellbound by the combination of narration plus superb writing plus story.

    MOST highly recommended.

    45 of 46 people found this review helpful
  • Laurie
    02/06/09
    Overall
    "great story!"

    I discovered Nevil Shute in my late teens and was thrilled to see this old favorite finally available with Audible. As with many Nevil Shute books, it starts off slowly but then becomes completely engrossing. Fascinating picture of life in Malaya and Australia in the '40s and early '50s, engaging characters. Excellent narration, perfect for the story. Am hoping that other Shute favorites will be added soon - Pied Piper, No Highway, Trustee from the Toolroom, Pastoral, In the Wet.

    45 of 46 people found this review helpful
  • Michael
    Santa Barbara, ca, United States
    30/03/11
    Overall
    "A Town Like Alice"

    By Michael, Santa Barbara, CA

    Excellent book. Tends to slow down a bit in the 2nd half, but overall a compelling story about interesting people and times. The descriptions about life in the UK and Australia were fascinating. The narration was quite good, with the narrator going back and forth from the London accent of the UK to the Australia accent.

    21 of 21 people found this review helpful
  • Peyton
    Imperial, PA, United States
    16/03/10
    Overall
    "An all time favorite I have read many times..."

    If you have never read Nevil Shute, you are missing an opportunity to revitialize your personal outlook on life. This is a extraordinary story of a women who has the mental capacity and spiritual drive to do something special with her life. Become immersed in the spectacular images and prose of an English born aeronautical engineer who served during both world wars, eventually becoming an author and settling with his family in Australia. As one of his seven books, you will experience a simple story that serves as an introduction to his later, more powerful, works. Free from political commentary or nuance, you will find this a story that impels us to look beyond the mundane, and perhaps prompt us to visualize our own lives as an opportunity to better the world as our abilities and situations permit. In Mr. Shute's other six books you will discover his uncommon world view which is sure to enrich your own.

    58 of 60 people found this review helpful
  • Sharon
    West Monroe, LA, United States
    13/06/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Favorite beautifully read"

    I really enjoyed listening to one of my all-time favorite novels. It is such a wonderful listen. Cannot praise it enough!

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Susan
    San Dimas, CA, United States
    07/01/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Two Husbands, One Book, Two Stories"

    Way back in the mid seventies my first husband and I divorced. We argued over the custody of three things - our son, the dog and a book, The Legacy. I won 2 of the 3 items (he got the dog). Through the years I delighted in both my son and rereading Nevil Shute's wonderful book. The Legacy was renamed A Town Like Alice. (Personally I feel the original title fits the story better)

    I enjoyed A Town Like Alice so much that when my second husband and I traveled to Australia in 1999 I insisted we visit the outback, Alice Springs in particular. We spent 2 nights and 3 days on a working station just outside Alice. I kept looking for Joe or Jean to come greet us.

    What makes A Town Like Alice such a great book to read is the completion of an interesting and complex storyline. A Town Like Alice takes place in England, Malaysia and Australia. The first part of the story occurs during World War II. That part of Nevil Shute's story is somewhat historically correct. It's interesting to read about the women taken prisoner by the Japanese in Malaysia, and the strength if the human spirit. This novel has everything - war, survival, a legacy, romance, business savvy, friendship,humanity and more.

    I highly recommend A Town Like Alice. It is a great book to read and an equally fine audible book. Robin Bailey, the narrator, is easy to listen to. He does well portraying all the various characters throughout the story. A Town Like Alice will not disappoint you.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Margaret Hildebrand
    West Coast
    15/12/09
    Overall
    "An All Time Favorite Novel"

    This is one of the best novels I've ever read and Robin Bailey's audio narration is perfect. The quiet tone of the book's narrator, both as written by Shute and underplayed by Bailey, makes the Malaysian WWII horrors described listenable without stopping, except to rewind and relisten occasionally. The un-ending British/Australian stiff-upper-lip recollection of what happened is typical of another time and place. The characterizations, as in all Nevil Shute novels, makes the story riveting. The ultimate happy resolution, while completely foreseeable, is nuanced in unexpected ways and keeps the listener involved to the end.

    I wish there were more Nevil Shute books available on audio. I rented one about the Australian flying doctor service some 20 years ago from Books on Tape that was excellent. That one isn't even available in used print (Amazon). Surely there are more novels on audio from Australia or England that Audible/Amazon could obtain rights to and bring to their readers.

    27 of 30 people found this review helpful
  • g
    Los Angeles, CA, United States
    21/04/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Continental adventure worth the ride"

    This is the second book that I have listened to by Nevil Shute, and it inspired me, once again to follow his work. Shute’s stories are both entertaining and informative; simple and grand at the same time. It is so easy to picture the narrative and dialogue, excellently narrated by Robin Bailey. This story, written in the 1950’s, would have been the “Indiana Jones and How the West Was Won” type of story for the time. It is about personal struggle, character, adventure, and romance across continents and countries that included, England, Malaya and Australia during WWII. Great storytelling!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
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