A Town Like Alice (Paperback)
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DescriptionThis title features an introduction by Eric Lomax. Jean Paget is just twenty years old and working in Malaya when the Japanese invasion begins. When she is captured she joins a group of other European women and children whom the Japanese force to march for miles through the jungle - an experience that leads to the deaths of many. Due to her courageous spirit and ability to speak Malay, Jean takes on the role of leader of the sorry gaggle of prisoners and many end up owing their lives to her indomitable spirit. While on the march, the group run into some Australian prisoners, one of whom, Joe Harman, helps them steal some food, and is horrifically punished by the Japanese as a result. After the war, Jean tracks Joe down in Australia and together they begin to dream of surmounting the past and transforming his one-horse outback town into a thriving community like Alice Springs.
- Published: 19 October 2009
- Format: Paperback 368 pages
- ISBN 13: 9780099530268 ISBN 10: 0099530260
- Sales rank: 14,306
Reviews for A Town Like Alice
- Top review
a great read
A Town Like Alice is the fourteenth novel by British author, Nevil Shute. The story centres on a young Englishwoman, Jean Paget, and her experiences during World War Two in Malaya and later in the north of Australia. The story is narrated by Noel Starchan, an English solicitor who is looking after a legacy left in trust to Jean by her Scottish uncle (the alternate title for this book is The Legacy). Jean is part of a group of women who are taken prisoner by the Japanese in Malaya and forced to march across the country as successive Japanese commanders refuse to accept responsibility for them. When they near the east coast, they happen upon some Australian prisoners driving trucks for the Japanese. As well as procuring food, soap and medicines for the women, Joe Harman tells Jean of his country, in particular the town of Alice Springs. Shute builds his story slowly and carefully; his characters have depth and appeal; his dialogue lends an authenticity that will resonate with older Australians (especially Joe's use of bonza and my word). There was horror and heartache, but also humour and incredible kindness. I reread this book because I borrowed the Peter Finch movie version from the library and wanted to refresh my memory. A great read. by Marianne Vincent