A Gentle Occupation

A Gentle Occupation

3.88 (61 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Paperback

Currently unavailable

Add to wishlist

AbeBooks may have this title (opens in new window).

Try AbeBooks

Description

Bogarde's debut novel, set in 1945, concerns the period after the war as the British Army attempts to carry out a caretaking operation on an island seething with revolt following the Japanese occupation. A film star of the 1950s and 1960s, Bogarde has also written four volumes of autobiography.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 448 pages
  • 109.22 x 177.8 x 30.48mm | 249.47g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • 0140131027
  • 9780140131024

Review Text

From the actor-author of two graceful memoirs: a nicely crafted and delightfully nostalgic piece of movie-ish fiction about a batch of British officer chaps just after World War II; it's sequinned with neo-Coward patter and with romances of various depths and persuasions. Bogarde sets his story on a fictional (Indonesian) island where the under-supplied British find themselves saddled with a double task: absorbing and rehabilitating Dutch survivors from Japanese camps; and keeping the peace as the native revolution heats up. Enter Christian Rooke, cut loose from his air-photographic-interpreter post, longing for home, but due to be shifted to an impossible position as Company Commander in a dangerous outpost. He is saved, however, by elegant Major Geoffrey Nettles, who - in a chirpy seduction scene - trades one night of gay abandon for Rooke's far cozier appointment on the island as ADC to General Leo Cutts. Cutts, although not exactly top-drawer socially, is a good and respected and well-liked soldier. He is, however, bedding Dora Foto, a wily and nasty Belgian informer who once caused the death of four men and is now exerting a malign influence on General Cutts. While young Rooke wonders how to excise Dora without causing irreparable harm to Cutts, he falls in love with half-caste Emmie (thanks to avuncular intervention by Nettles, they at last decide to marry); and a sadder romantic fate awaits officer Pullen, who must leave Dutch lover Claire when her husband, presumed dead in a camp, returns. (Pull in for parting close-up: "l love you very much./ I know./ Nothing will ever change that./ Yes.") In addition to offstage carnage, there will be a messy maiming and a killing or two; Dora will at last be booted forth with Cutts none the wiser; and, throughout, Nettles expounds his views on coarse Americans and other dregs of humanity ("plankton; the universe is phosphorescent with their biological mediocrity"). With cool, spiffy, clipped dialogue in the grand tradition and a bit of gore to keep things hopping: a thoroughly good show. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

61 ratings
3.88 out of 5 stars
5 30% (18)
4 36% (22)
3 30% (18)
2 3% (2)
1 2% (1)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X