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4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (16,469 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Nevil Shute Narrator: Neil Hunt Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2016 ISBN: 9781456122850
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Eight hundred women and children begin a twelve-hundred-mile journey on foot across Japanese-occupied Malaya. At journey’s end only thirty will still be alive. This is the story of one woman, of her ordeal, and of how she was saved by the sacrifice of an Australian soldier. It is a story of rare individual courage in the face of certain death, and hope in the face of despair.

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Atlantis | 2/19/2014

    " This book was a pleasant surprise for me. When I read in the synopsis that it was about a "death march" I was really concerned it would be very depressing and it was but not the entire book, thankfully. I enjoyed the easy writing style of the author but I thought the book ended strangely. It was sort of this dramatic war scene and then Jean finds out Joe is still alive and they "switch" countries looking for each other and when they find each other that seems to be the climax but you have about 80-100 pages more of "happily-ever after"=which isn't bad at all just makes for an unconventional ending. Also, the fact that Jean was running all those businesses, getting married, having children, etc- I have no idea how she kept all of that organized! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mom | 2/19/2014

    " Another book that I really loved about a strong woman and the lives she touched because of that strength. I also loved that developed between her and the elderly attorney who was the executor of her uncles will. Her uncle didn't want his money to go to a young woman who didn't have any experience with life and who would most likely spend (waste) his money on frivolous things. Little did he know the life experience of the heroine and how wisely she would use the money to help others. The Japanese death march she endured was amazing. I loved this book and want to look for others by this author. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jessie | 2/17/2014

    " Read it long ago. Loved it then, loved it now. It is a bit dated in places but it does take place during WWII and the years after. Excellent reader. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bill | 2/15/2014

    " I read some of Nevil Shute's books in the 1960. Reading this book reminded me of why I loved his books so much. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeanine | 2/14/2014

    " this was a great book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Breanne | 2/13/2014

    " I loved this book. The story of Jean Paget (the main character) is amazing. And the fact that the story is based on real life events during WWII makes the story even more amazing. Jean is such a strong female protagonist surviving so much and making the best she can out of every situation, you can't help but admire her. The only thing I didn't like was the style of writing at times. The story is narrated by Jean's trustee and because of that I felt that in some situations the depth of emotion wasn't there. I was still emotionally involved until the end of the book and loved how it ended. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 K1 | 2/12/2014

    " I really enjoyed this one. And not only because it was set in steamy tropical regions of the world that sound fabulous right about now... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Summer | 2/7/2014

    " Wow! This is an incredible book. It's a story of survival, adventure, friendship, and love. I didn't expect to love this book as much as I did because I had never heard of it before, but I'm adding it to the ranks of my most loved books. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ta N. | 2/4/2014

    " Learn a lot about the Australian outback and the war in Maylasia during either the Vietnam war or WWII... I should look that up. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Arianna Mclaughlin | 2/3/2014

    " I absolutely loved this book. Shute's decision to narrate the novel from the perspective of Noel, instead of Jean Paget was an effective choice. Instead of distancing the narration, it lets us see Jean through the eyes of someone who loves her and who passes that love onto the reader. The only part where my eye started to wander was during the rescue scene near the end. While I appreciate the way it demonstrates Jean's dedication to the town/environment and the town's acceptance of her, it could have been considerably shorter or had a more climatic outcome. All of the secondary characters are interesting and well-formed without being distracting. Shute tackles a lot in this novel-colonislism, racism, POWs and feminism to name a few- but instead of feeling overwhelming, Shute's lean prose, well-constructed characters and witty dialogue lets everything co-exist. The cynical part of me struggled a bit with the romance between Jean and Joe, but Shute's engaging writing style more than made up for it. A must read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Frynsg | 2/2/2014

    " another off of the BBC list of must reads. No idea what this one is going to be like "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Liz | 1/30/2014

    " Had to read and re-read this book in School. The English literature teacher killed this book for me, He almost put him off reading all together - He would read such a monotone voice and it was such an effort to stay awake. Hence why it has got such a low score. It might a decent book but it just reminds of sitting in School looking out of the window and waiting for the school bell so could escape the boredom. Only when I got to university did I realise that teaching could be inspiring. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deedee | 1/27/2014

    " A favorite of mine about Australians during WWII. The prison camp stuff is hard to take but the characters who come through the experience are memorable and I assume that most of the Australian history is true to fact. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen Hofstetter | 1/24/2014

    " I listen to this on audio book. I liked it. The story was really good and I did like the premise. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Meg | 1/24/2014

    " I thought this was a beautiful story! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Fiona | 1/17/2014

    " Yet another home reader from schooldays but I remember loving it (as opposed to most of the others). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kay | 1/14/2014

    " This is a really good story that takes place on three continents. I really liked it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pam | 1/12/2014

    " Wonderful wonderful book. I did sometimes wonder if the girl was too good to be true, but I guess that is what makes her so amazing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aileen | 1/3/2014

    " Great book-- would have been a five star if the last 50 or so pages had kept the same momentum of the rest of the book. Loved the main character Jean and the narrator... very well developed. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eunice Boeve | 1/3/2014

    " Wonderful Book!! Loved it!! Read it years and years ago. I think I'll get out my copy and read it again. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cindy | 12/30/2013

    " I love this book and have read it or just the second part of it many many times! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cherlyn | 12/25/2013

    " This is my second reading of this book and it continues to rank among my favorites. I kind of like that it wasn't fast paced, and that it used a third character and letters for its narration. It seems that I've read a lot of WWII lately. Their stories should never be forgotten. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hayley Smith-Kirkham | 12/24/2013

    " My dad gave me this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lois | 12/23/2013

    " I liked "A Town Like Alice." Kind of a slower start, interesting choice of narrator. I admire lots about Miss Jean Paget and what she got up and did. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Krista | 12/4/2013

    " Read it twice. Wonderful story of Australian. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Virginia Shea | 11/27/2013

    " Still listening (audio book) - jury is still out - love the narrator and the story is intersting.. been listening about 2.5 hours and feel like i am still at the beginning but it is not boring.. weird, huh? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Demodonnag | 11/14/2013

    " Wonderful book - loved every minute of it! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Su | 11/12/2013

    " This is one of the very few books I have read and then RE-read....several times. It is heart-warming, courageous, and motivating. Read it and tell me what you think! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Penny | 11/9/2013

    " I picked this out of my bookshelf last week as I caught the end of the Peter Finch /Virginia McKenna film on C4 - it is such a lovely inspiring book - I have read it many times over the years but my sympathies change with each decade - and own life experience - but it still never fails to resonate. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Allison | 10/30/2013

    " I loved loved loved this book. I recommend it to anyone. I love WWII era books. Loved the main characters. You can tell it was written a long time ago. But that being said I think that it says a lot about the book and how well written it was that we are still reading it today. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cassicapell | 10/13/2013

    " This is one of my all time favorites. I have read a half dozen times and just re-read for a ward book group, still a favorite. Jean is an amazing character, very humble yet such a force for change wherever she goes. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 mstan | 9/2/2013

    " This was a lot more enjoyable than I had expected, and I got really caught up in the truly incredible love story, spanning three different continents (Europe, Asia, Australia) and years in more ways than one (view spoiler)[poor narrator! (hide spoiler)]. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janette | 7/25/2013

    " Have loved this story since I saw the PBS mini-series many years ago. A great story -- "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Whitney | 7/14/2013

    " I really enjoyed this book. My only complaint is that the back of the book gives away too much. If you are going to read this book, just dive right in and don't read the synopsis before you start. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cathi | 4/16/2013

    " This is one of my all-time favorite books. It starts out as a World War II book, and then it becomes a post-war book about Australia. It's just a great story! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tamar | 4/2/2013

    " Interesting book. A bit slow at times, but heartfelt and sweet. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Greg | 12/30/2012

    " Nothing happens in this story. It is a simple story of a female entrepreneur/war survivor who makes a better living off of a chance inheritance. There are no plot twists or surprise or any mind blowing events. It's just an easy and dull read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erik | 11/4/2012

    " Like most Nevil Shute books, this has a good story line and is very readable. Recommended reading! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alasdair Craig | 10/26/2012

    " Bit dated, otherwise good story, easy read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marian | 10/20/2012

    " This is one of my favorite books. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susan | 10/5/2012

    " An absolute 4-star had it not lost some steam during the last half. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alaric | 8/15/2012

    " An excellent book by one of the best novelists of the 20th century. Combines wartime tension with the satisfaction and balm of creating a new life, in a new town, in a new country. Very enjoyable. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Teniya | 7/16/2012

    " Loved this book! That Jean is one classy lady!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susan | 6/2/2012

    " An absolute 4-star had it not lost some steam during the last half. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tammy | 5/18/2012

    " Very interesting story. Real characters. The writing was enjoyable to read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laurie | 5/8/2012

    " Lovely old story full of terms no longer considered pc. Paints a beautiful picture of all its various locales. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carly | 5/6/2012

    " Such a great story! I loved it. It gets a little bit descriptive at times...but I still loved it. Crazy to think about living in the 1940s, 1950s... modern transportation/communication has made life a lot less complicated. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Denise | 5/4/2012

    " Loved it again! Really a 4.5. Read this the first time a long time ago and didn't remember the story until the chickens. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Phoebe | 11/7/2011

    " I really loved this book. Unfortunately, I cannot remember who recommended this book, but whoever you are- thank you! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 William | 10/31/2011

    " A good read. A very interesting story with not many surprises, but I found the style easy to read and finished it no time. Which always says to me that I enjoyed reading it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bea | 10/26/2011

    " Jean Paget for President! This is a book about survival, hard work, ingenuity, and hope. There is nothing artsy about it. It just rolled on in a straight forward manner, dragging my heart and head with it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 David | 10/26/2011

    " My most disappointing read of 2011. The "reading 'A Town Like Alice' movie night experience": watch 'Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence' on fast forward, then the Australia bits of 'Crocodile Dundee', then the longest and dullest episode of 'The Flying Doctors' you can find.
    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elizabeth | 10/26/2011

    " It's remarkable how much the world has changed since 1950. This is a fascinating look at the 1940s and 1950s. Many of the prejudices that were clearly completely acceptable at the time are quite shocking now. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stephanie | 10/24/2011

    " This is our book club book for this month. Love, love, love it! What an amazing, unassuming heroine. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andy | 10/23/2011

    " It's hard to believe this book was written in 1950. The main female character Jean thinks like many women today. Since she is based on a real woman that did many of the things she did you have to admire her courage and just plain guts. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hybridmobile | 10/23/2011

    " Glad I stuck to it - It was a little off-putting at first being hit with a barrage of names and language I wasn't used to. But, when I got into the story, it was nice. Nothing earth-shattering, but spoke to pioneer-women's spirit. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sally | 10/12/2011

    " I read this years ago and it's still with me. A well crafted novel. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Darlene | 10/10/2011

    " Read this when I was very young. Read all of Nevil Shute's books then and they stayed with me. I remember feeling as I read that nothing much was happening, yet I couldn't stop reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hayley | 10/7/2011

    " My dad gave me this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karen | 10/2/2011

    " Fabulous book, read his other books,also "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gwynneth White | 8/21/2011

    " One of my favourite books of all time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Norma Turner | 6/1/2011

    " I loved it. The writing is clear. The characters are all interesting and likeable. Great story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Spoffy | 5/21/2011

    " I love this book, so absorbing! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bethany | 5/19/2011

    " Love this book but the 5 hour miniseries is even better! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brian | 5/19/2011

    " I love this book. I've read it many times. Nevil Shute knew how to tell a story. This one has everything. It's an adventure, a love story but most of all a testament to the strength of human courage, ingenuity and survival in adversity. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary | 5/18/2011

    " I loved this book. It was emotionally tough in the first half and a little slow in the second half. But I loved it all the same. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Carrie | 5/13/2011

    " I didn't like this book at all. Although the main characters were well developed, I thought the writing was slow. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nannette | 5/11/2011

    " Good story. There were a lot of references to Australian towns and many Australian words that I got lost in (Kim you might really like this one)...but it was a feel good read and I enjoyed it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Raciel | 5/9/2011

    " I need to return to this book as an adult. This was one of the required reading back in secondary school and I did not appreciate it at all, albeit remember thinking that it was not too bad of a story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Becca | 5/6/2011

    " Chris recommended this book to me and it took me half way through the book to realize why. The beginning was necessary to set the stage for the rest of the book, although at the time, it seemed really slow. Completely enjoyed the last half though! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julie | 5/6/2011

    " Enjoyed the characters and some of the war episodes, but a little boring near the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 5/5/2011

    " Starts off rather slow but turns into a very interesting tale of WWII and outback Australia, which was a lovely surprise for me. I'm a sucker for books with strong female characters, and this one has that. "

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About the Author
Author Nevil Shute

Nevil Shute (1899–1960) was an English novelist who wrote twenty-three novels and aeronautical engineer who spent his later years in Australia. He used his full name, Nevil Shute Norway, in his engineering career, and Nevil Shute as his pen name to protect his engineering career from any potential negative publicity in connection with his novels. He is most well-known for his novels On the Beach, a novel about post–nuclear war which is taught in high schools around the country and which was twice made into a movie, and A Town Like Alice, which was filmed as well as serialized for Australian television and dramatized for BBC radio, winning a Sony Award in 1998.

About the Narrator

Neil Hunt is an audiobook narrator whose readings include books by W. Somerset Maugham, Nevil Shute, and John Masters.