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|Number of Pages||:||116 Pages|
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The Seafarers Reviews
This was a previously unpublished novel found among the author's papers after his death. Really a novella - very short, but an interesting study of post WWII individuals in Britain. The intro spoke of it being about the need to find meaningful work or activity despite circumstances(such as in "On the Beach" by same author). In this case, the 2 characters find it difficult to adjust to civilan life after their war service - finding the usual jobs they normally would have done in life to be pretty bland now. Both struggle to fit back in. But to me the theme was more about the leveling effect of service - your economic background was hidden by uniforms and service pay. What you had been in civilan life didn't matter much once you were all in the service. But when our hero meets up with our heroine after demobilization, he realizes immediately from what she wears and where she stays in London that she is out of his league financially. And that makes all the difference to him - he doesn't want to be seen as a male gold-digger. Although the moeny issue doesn't matter to her, she realizes that it does to him, and she is at a loss. How they resolve the problem is connected with the meaningful work theme.
The Seafarers is a curiosity, a novella resurrected from Shute's unpublished papers, restored and published as a labor of love by a group of Shute fans. The story is a simple one, involving a British naval lieutenant and a Wren. They meet in the immediate aftermath of WW II, as the lieutenant's torpedo boat is being decommissioned at Portsmouth. Both are at loose ends as to postwar plans, love the sea, and have no training for other work. They bond, but the relationship falters when they reconnect in civilian life and learn that they inhabit different civilian social strata. Once again, though, Shute's heartwarming formula of work and good character overcoming long odds takes over and brings things right in the end. A nice read if you can find it.
This is a love story between two young people who are getting out of the Navy after the war. Donald Wolf, a navy lieutenant is helping to decommission his gunboat, and Jean Porter, a Wren who is bringing the workmen to the gunboat each day. Jean is trying to light her stove in the small transport when Donald sees her and invites her into the gunboat to have tea with him. They hit it off, but after they return to their homes, Donald finds out that Jean comes from a very wealthy family and he, from a poor family does not have the money to support her. They both want to work with boats, but Jean is trying secretarial school and Donald is trying to be a marine insurance agent without much pay. However, their mutual love for the sea will win out.
This is a book I read years ago and I enjoyed it immensely. I’ve read all of Nevil Shute’s books. The best by far is “A Town Like Alice.”
A short Shute story - published long after his death from his papers. Not really a full novel but his classic writing style. Knowing I would never again read a Shute book for the first time I read every page slowly to savour.