Read No Highway by Nevil Shute Online


 Theodore Honey is a shy, inconspicuous engineer whose eccentric interests are frowned upon in aviation circles. When a passenger plane crashes in Newfoundland under unexplained circumstances, Honey is determined to prove his unorthodox theory about what went wrong to his superiors, before more lives are lost. But while flying to the crash scene to investigate, Honey disco Theodore Honey is a shy, inconspicuous engineer whose eccentric interests are frowned upon in aviation circles. When a passenger plane crashes in Newfoundland under unexplained circumstances, Honey is determined to prove his unorthodox theory about what went wrong to his superiors, before more lives are lost. But while flying to the crash scene to investigate, Honey discovers to his horror that he is on board one of the defective planes and that he and his fellow passengers, including a friendly young stewardess and an aging movie actress, are in imminent peril....

Title : No Highway
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781842322734
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 343 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

No Highway Reviews

  • Jenne
    2019-02-11 21:38

    Oh Nevil Shute, how are you so fascinating? His books are always about these sort of greyish people who eventually triumph in the end because of their deep-down decency and competence. There's usually a whole lot of technical details about airplanes.And just when you're really getting into it, you get slapped in the face by attitudes of half a century ago.And despite all this, they are addictive as all hell.In this one, there's a genius engineer named Mr. Honey (not kidding) who is also a crackpot. He discovers a fatal flaw in some airplanes, and no one believes him except his boss who is neither a genius or a crackpot, but he is a decent guy.So Mr Honey has to go on a crazy air journey halfway across the world, because that's what you do if you're a colorless shy decent genius in a Nevil Shute novel, and then of course some beautiful intelligent women fall in love with him (one of them is a movie star) and decide that the best use they could possibly make of their lives is to keep house for him and his daughter (his wife died tragically in the war) because being a genius apparently means that you have never heard of washing your floors. Also he is the kindest bravest man who has ever existed but he mainly manifests this by blinking pathetically at ladies who then feel compelled to bring him Ovaltine. Plus he more or less ignores his daughter except when he is using her to experiment with some kind of Ouija Board technology. Anyway, despite it being completely fucking ridiculous, I couldn't put it down. I don't know.

  • Stephen Hayes
    2019-01-29 21:00

    It's interesting to re-read a book after a long time, and see whether your opinion of it has changed. I first read [authoer:Aldous Huxley]'s Brave New World when I was about 17, and found it very exciting and stimulating. I re-read it when I was 57, and after 40 years found it rather flat and dull. I've just finished reading No Highway after a gap of about 60 years, and found it as good as when I first read it. It was interesting to see what I remembered and what I had forgotten. I was about 13 or 14 when I first read it, when I was still crazy about aeroplanes and wanted to be a pilot. By the time I was 15 my ambitions had dropped, and my main interest was cars. From the age of 11 to 14 most of what I read had something to do with aeroplanes, and if No Highway had not been about aeroplanes I would probably not have read it at all.When I first read the book the most memorable things were the technical bits to do with the aircraft. I could recall the love story vaguely, but I could not recall the British Israelite angle at all, though it is quite prominent in the story, though I did recall the part with the planchette. I read it about the time that the first commercial jets, the De Havilland Comets, were in the news because of unexplained crashes. I seem to recall that when it was determined that the cause of the crashes was metal fatigue I knew what that meant because it was central to the plot of No Highway but it is possible that it was the other way round -- that I understood the point of the plot because of the real-life incidents with the Comets.It was the first book by Nevil Shute that I had read, and because I had enjoyed it I went on to read others written by him, though I still thought (and after re-reading it still think) )that No Highway was one of his best. I think it has aged well. Of course, one is aware that it belongs to its time, and that many things have changed since then. On the technical side the most obvious thing is air navigation. Back then the cabin crews were small (because the planes were smaller and carried fewer passengers) but the flight-deck crew was large, including, in addition to two pilots, a flight engineer, a navigator and a wireless operator. Advances in electronics have made the last two redundant. Social attitudes too are different. One of the most noticeable is that sex has replaces smoking as one of the most commonly-described recreational activities. Another is that sex roles were much more rigid back then: males were useless at cooking and cleaning and buying clothes for children; females were useless at research and design. I find the social differences interesting too, because I'm also reading a historical novel, Dissolution by C.J. Sansom. When reading historical novels I always have one eye out for anachronisms, things that the author gets wrong about the period in which the novel is set. No Highway is set in our past, but it was contemporary when it was written. So when I first read it, it was much closer to the time in which it was set and I did not notice such things, but the second time around, it gives an authentic view of a vanished past. Give it another 60 years, and some things in the book may need to be annotated, because there will then be no one around who lived thourgh that period. But I thought it was a good read back then, and it's still a good read now, and probably will be in 60 years' time too,

  • Ian Laird
    2019-02-09 22:49

    “…this aircraft is in a very dangerous condition. It’s got a very serious fatigue trouble in the tailplane. You must turn back to England at once.”-Theodore Honey, p57Not a bad way to begin a story- with an aeroplane about to fall out of the sky. If you heard someone say here is a novel centred on metal fatigue, that might not have been so compelling, but metal fatigue which might kick in at any moment and have a devastating effect on a select group of passengers whom we have got to know quite well – that is another story. The bespectacled research scientist (Dr Theodore Honey), a specialist in metal fatigue, is flying to Canada in a Reindeer aircraft, on a mission to investigate the earlier mysterious crash of the same type of aircraft, which stacked into a mountain in the wilds of Labrador. Suddenly realising the danger, mild mannered Dr Honey has expressed his apprehensions to the nice stewardess Marjorie Corder and to the famous Monica Teasdale, a much-married American film star, an erstwhile favourite of Theo’s and his late wife. Monica, though seriously past her best years, is still a magnetic presence. (view spoiler)[Despite Theo’s warning, the pilot, Captain Samuelson, flies on to Canada but heeds the scientist’s words by cutting the middle engines. It emerges that the pilot of the crashed plane was a long-time friend and colleague and Captain Samuelson doubts the crash was due to pilot error. When it is clear that the current flight will resume, Honey takes matters into his own hands and disables the plane by raising the landing gear, while the plane is on the tarmac. Bent plane.With this surprising and uncharacteristic act the unassuming and unlikely hero draws attention to himself and his cause with far reaching personal and professional consequences. Both the stewardess and the actress fall for him in their way, the stewardess wants to care for him and create something more worthwhile in her life, the actress yearns for solid domestic happiness which might have been hers had she said yes to the home town boy rather than seek the brighter lights. In this way Shute supplies a pattern of incompleteness in his characters lives which by the end of the book is remedied in good part. Dr Honey lives in a world of domestic male incompetence which can only be remedied with the installation of a good woman; who will it be – stewardess or actress? Even Dr Honey’s boss Dennis Scott (our narrator) has a wife, but no child – life isn’t fulfilled until the family is created.(hide spoiler)]All of this would be faintly risible without Shute’s sincerity and essential goodness, and we should acknowledge that his attitudes and understanding reflect the time he lived in. What he does excel in and we see this throughout his work, is his understanding of hierarchies and bureaucracies, realms with which Shute was exceedingly familiar: in this case the research institution, air safety and air force officialdom and the world inhabited by aviators and aircraft designers and builders. Shute has an unerring eye for how men (almost always men) have to manage research, ensure safety, and contend with business pressures and deal with professionals, bureaucrats and the public. Witness how Dr Scott goes out on a limb to back his scientist, who is decidedly eccentric, if not weird, without any substantial technical evidence, when balancing the need for the safety of passengers against the imperatives of aircraft manufacturing and running a passenger service.A deeply human and quite exciting story. A final word on character names: Shute is good at this: as David Lodge points out in The Art of Fiction authors decide what to call their characters, often to telling effect: Theodore Honey is pure and sweet, cannot be altered or improved, he is just what he is; the straight forward narrator Dennis Scott is solid and commanding; the difficult and forceful designer is E P Prendergast, just initials and a surname which connotes bluster and tumult. As for the actress and the stewardess, who is going to win their way into the affections of Dr Honey, an American whose name half spells tease, or someone called Corder, ie one who ties a knot? Great fun. I am not biblical enough to know whether Samuelson has any significant meaning, but it would not surprise.

  • heidi
    2019-01-20 23:36

    Oh, Nevil Shute. I do so adore your unabashed authorial self-insertion. I haven't read all Nevil Shute, or even the majority, but the ones I have read, I have strong opinions about. In this one, Shute is himself twice, both in the narrator (a young manager at an aeronautics company) and the main character, a weedy, pathetic, but brilliant "boffin".The novel opens with the young manager, Scott, talking about his job managing a bunch of brilliant but mildly eccentric scientists at a safety facility, a job much like the one Shute had before the WWII. One of his scientists, Theodore Honey, is drawn as extremely eccentric. He is widowed, with a pre-teen daughter, and is essentially uncivilized in a way that is acceptable only in older novels. He doesn't know how to cook or clean or buy clothes. He is interested in many crackpot theories, including pyramidology, and the return of Jesus to England. He is also quite brilliant at what he does, aeronautics-wise. Honey comes to Scott and tells him that the tail assembly of the brand new plane currently flying the Transatlantic flight is going to crystallize and shear off after a certain number of hours. He is running tests on a tail to be sure, but it will be months before they get confirmation. Scott is torn on whether to take this seriously on not. On the one hand, pyramidology. On the other hand, planes falling out of the sky for a reason that manifests quickly and without warning.Scott orders Honey to step up the testing and goes to see his own boss to quietly freak out about planes falling out of the sky. He finds out that one of these planes HAS fallen out of the sky -- the prototype, which had almost the correct number of hours for Honey's theory, crashed in a stupid way. It had been ruled pilot error, but the coincidence made Scott edgy.Scott and his boss decide that someone needs to go out to Newfoundland to investigate the wreckage. Scott would go, but he is going to present his big important professional paper, and so he decides to send Honey, who is not... personable, but is the expert on crystallized metal fatigue.As you can imagine, the plot is more complicated from there. I shan't give it all away, except to note that I find it completely and hilariously charming that Shute, who was 49 when it was published, depicted the nerdy, asocial little engineer as charming both an aging movie star and a bright and beautiful flight stewardess. Thematically, I can tell that this book was written in the era when Shute still had faith in the British system. It was not long after this that he emigrated to Australia because he found the country no longer to his taste.This book is by no means as strong as A Town Like Alice or On The Beach, but it is not unworthy to be on the shelf with them. Shute's charming older men: the narrators in Alice and Pied Piper, the Trustee from the Toolroom, are all extremely homey and sympathetic. I always like to think of them as Shute himself, spinning stories. I haven't read much from his early works, but I may go seek them out. Evidently some of them are about daring young pilots, which Shute also was.I enjoy reading period books that do not think of themselves as period books. It is not notable that Honey has trouble working his ration coupons and has three years of his jam sugar allotment saved. Of course air stewardesses are unmarried and of course young wives don't work. When I read stories that are ABOUT a period, these things always feel highlighted, but when I read books IN a period, they are just part of how life goes.Read if: You want to read about failure and risk analysis. Stories about nerdy little men who have women contending for them are amusing to you. The installation of domestic hot water heaters is something you had never thought about. You can tolerate some strange woo-woo in your mostly-science.Skip if: You want a lot of action, intrigue, or plausible romance. You have problems with outdated science. You are unwilling to read about the typical breakfasts served to transatlantic passengers of the era*.* I did enjoy reading about the time in Gander. I mostly know it as the place a lot of transatlantic flights ended up at after 9/11, but of course, it's been an airport for a very long time.

  • Olivia
    2019-01-26 19:36

    Whew, finally finished this! Very tedious reading because the plot was so focused on a certain type of plane and Mr. Honey trying to prove that it would crash after 14,000 hours of flying time. I like planes and flying, but all I can say was that this was boring. Really boring :P I like the beginning and Mr. Honey's character was unique (although weird at times). My favorite scene was when he was in the plane scaring everyone about crashing.Anyway, glad to have read this, and I probably will still watch the movie based off this book. I'll hope it's a little more interesting :)

  • Bettie☯
    2019-01-22 18:49

    Bettie's Books

  • Elisabeth
    2019-01-29 20:36

    No Highway builds an absorbing, suspenseful story around the unlikely basis of scientific research—which takes on a much stronger immediacy when it casts doubt on the safety of an airplane. The trouble is, the theory suggesting the aircraft are unsafe comes from Theodore Honey, an untidy, eccentric scientist whom few take seriously. One of his superiors, the book's narrator Dennis Scott, believes he may be right, but convincing higher officials poses a difficult problem. When Honey is sent to Canada to investigate the wreckage of one of the aircraft which crashed, he finds that the plane on which he is traveling is near the possible danger point and tries to have it grounded. The aftermath of this incident, Honey's relationships with a stewardess and a fellow-passenger he met on the threatened plane, and the involvement of the narrator and his wife with Honey and his motherless young daughter Elspeth, form the rest of the plot.I read this novel after having watched and enjoyed the 1951 film adaptation No Highway In the Sky. It's a case, I think, where book and film are both very good on their own and complement each other well even though they differ in some particulars. In the book we get much deeper into the hearts and minds of the characters, and many are much better developed than the constraints of a film allowed. I found it curious how the film's casting, in a physical sense, was totally wrong, and yet still managed to pull off the portrayal of the characters so I felt I recognized them when I read the novel. The one I appreciated much more in the book was Monica Teasdale—her reflections on her simple American roots and what direction her life might have taken had she not become a famous actress are very moving, and naturally not something translated to film with the foreign glamor of Marlene Dietrich in the role. Jimmy Stewart's Theodore Honey was also played a little more broadly comical, whereas in the book Honey is rather more pathetic and troubled. In the film the doubts of Honey's sanity seem to be based more off his absent-minded personality, where the book gives him a background of more intricate issues such as his interest in spiritualism and apocryphal religious theories and prophecies. It seems more reasonable for people to doubt a man's sanity because he believes he can predict the end of the world from the angle of the Great Pyramid than because he tries to unlock the door of the wrong house.The first-person narration is unique: the narrator relates events he witnessed, but also the parts that took place in his absence, with so much detail that it's practically third-person. I've only encountered two authors that used this method, Shute and Max Brand. You don't want to let the amounts of technical language put you off; even if it's Greek to you, you can just go with the flow and gain a basic understanding from the context, for it is after all a vital part of the story. It's written in such a way that I found it fascinating, even though most of it was beyond me. The film's main weakness, a rather abrupt ending, is not present in the novel, which is much better rounded off and concluded (the part that Honey's spiritualist dabblings play in the resolution is certainly eyebrow-raising, but somewhat amusing). A good read.

  • Peter
    2019-02-09 16:52

    This is a weird one. Fundamentally, there's a good yarn here but it is clothed in some very old-fashioned views about gender; about social status and about families. It made for slightly uncomfortable reading, even though I have lived through the era in which is was set and I therefore understand how things were then and how times have changed.I would not therefore recommend the book very strongly.

  • Vikas Datta
    2019-01-29 23:47

    Delightfully engrossing with deft characterisation and dramatic moments galore..

  • Simon
    2019-02-17 16:50

    Another classic, chosen randomly off a high bookshelf late on Saturday night. I hadn't thought that I had read No Highway before and I was after a fresh read but I must have read it once many many moons ago as the sequence in the cockpit at Gander was familiar. I couldn't remember anything from the story at all and so thoroughly enjoyed this novel.No Highway is part-romance, part-thriller and part-scientific whodunnit, all aspects that are skillfully woven together. As I have commented before, I am amazed at how authors of this era (immediately post-WW2) can tell a complex and detailed story without recourse to the bloat that afflicts many modern novels. I think that a good part of it is that authors of days gone by don't feel that they have to inflict every last word of a conversation or description of an object or location on the reader.I am possibly advantaged in this area as I have an aviation background but I thought that the technical aspects of the story were covered in such a manner that both technical lay-folk and those with some experience in these areas will be equally comfortable with the content which is a vital to the story line. I was less comfortable with some of the non-scientific themes in the book but that it more a reflection of my own thoughts as opposed to how they are discussed in No Highway and I think it is a credit to the author that he manages to achieve this - I also thought that this book was a great reminder of the time before email and cell phones were such an easy out for communication and that there were once modern times when getting a message from the UK to the wilds of Canada in a couple of days was considered pretty impressive!I will have to hunt down the movie version now to see how well the book translates - I would really recommend it for any one with an interest in the technical aspects of aviation, with a smattering of romance, or who is simply looking for a good read by the fire...

  • Nomadman
    2019-01-30 21:56

    I wasn't sure how to rate this. It's a curious mixture of the gripping and the absolutely mundane. The gripping part involves a search by a bunch of engineers to prove that the tail wing of a new passenger plane contains a latent design flaw (which admittedly doesn't sound that gripping, but in Nevil Shute's hands becomes so) while the mundane part concerns pretty much everything else, specifically a horrendous domestic drama involving a cast of insipid female characters straight out of a Cholmondley Warner sketch. Honestly, I'm not sure why Shute thought this constituted the "bits that make it fun" as he more or less makes one of his characters say on the final page. I'm not even sure if it would've been particularly fun for his readers at the time. With the exception of the narrator's wife, it would be hard to call these characters anything other than vapidly drawn caricatures, a sort of wish fulfilment wife fancy for men of the 1940s, I suppose, loyal, sweet tempered, a bit dim but keen to learn all the domestic duties required of them. And ever so pretty. Etc.Another thing which bothered me was that Shute frequently violated one of the principal rules of POV by narrating several chapters outside of the experience of the main character (the book is written in the first person). I'm not usually a massive stickler for things like that, but the fact that pretty much all these chapters involved the nonsense above made them seem especially pointless. Luckily the main story is a belter, and Shute has an excellent way of conveying pretty technical engineering terms to the layman in a clear and concise manner. Had the book focussed purely on this aspect of the story and cut out all the fluff I'd probably be rating it a four.

  • Michael
    2019-02-06 18:01

    Because I have an interest in things aviation I was drawn towards this story, which at its heart deals with the serious issue of metal fatigue in aircraft. This story is really a parallel of the real-world when the deHavilland Comet (England's first jet passenger aircraft following WW2) which promised so much, experienced a string of disastrous metal fatigue problems with the airframe of the Comet and more than 100 lives were lost through these disasters. The main characters in this story are based at Farnborough, which was the UK's aviation research centre. One of their scientists has theorised that such catastrophic collapses can occur after a certain accumulated number of hours of flying in the aircraft "Reindeer". This theory causes major conflicts with the airlines, the aircraft manufacturer and the scientists at Farnborough, as there is no actual evidence to support the theory that has been placed before all the interested parties. Tensions mount and although one of these aircraft has crashed, it occurred in a very remote part of Canada, and many parts of the aircraft were not found due to the nature of the terrain and topography, but the investigation concluded that the crash was due to pilot error. For the Farnborough scientists it becomes critical that they find the crashed aircraft and the critical parts to try and identify if metal fatigue was the cause. In the meantime the remainder of these aircraft are still flying across the Atlantic and will soon hit the theorised total cummulative hours of flying and become endangered.

  • Laura
    2019-01-21 00:01

    Free download available at Faded Page.The movie based on this book is available at YouTube

  • Adam
    2019-01-29 22:38

    Loved it, contains everything from (slightly dubious) science and engineering to pseudoscience and superstitions. Brilliant read.

  • Peter
    2019-02-12 23:41

    Nevil Shute wrote many outstanding books before his death in 1960; On the Beach and The Far Country are only two examples of big books with a vision. But he also wrote a number of fine but lesser known novels derived from his career as an aeronautical engineer before he turned to writing. These books are not the grand visions that his most popular books offer; rather, they are small-scale stories of people caught in threatened positions, usually involving aeronautical problems. No Highway (1948), is one of those lesser works. It is the basis for the British 1951 movie No Highway in the Sky starring Jimmy Stewart and Marlena Dietrich. The book’s no-nonsense conversational style is welcome after the over-the-top histrionics in many modern action novels. This is a sweet, gentle and lazy book with considerable emphasis on character building, yet another Shute-ish demonstration that it is the honest and decent among us, the behind-the-scenes nebbishes, who ultimately win the good fight; good guys finish first! It creates a warm recollection of a slower and more comfortable time before the assault of technology, congestion and road-voter-everything rage took over. Yes, it’s dated, but it’s the better for it.The protagonist, Dennis Scott, is an aeronautical scientist newly assigned to direct the team of aeronautical scientists at the Structural Department of the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough, England. He is aware that over their careers aeronautical scientists (like most professionals) tend to morph from nose-to-the-grindstone efforts to advance their field to more distant interests—pure theory with voluminous mathematical underpinnings, or applications of their knowledge to endeavors unrelated to the team’s mission. So his first task is to separate the wheat from the chaff—who is “on task” and who is not.One team member—Theodore Honey—might be going off the reservation. A widower with a twelve-year old daughter, Honey is a metals fatigue specialist who has developed a theory of fuselage fatigue based on quantum mechanics. He argues that repeated cycles of vibrations cause aluminum atoms to absorb sufficient energy to eject a neutron, converting them to isotopes and creating a crystalline chemical structure that weakens the atomic bonds; in other words, aluminum is prone to fractures from “metal fatigue.” Honey estimates that after 1,440 hours of flight the tail will fall off of the newest transatlantic airplane—the Rutland Reindeer. Mr Honey is now subjecting the tail section of a reindeer to mechanical analysis by placing it into a large vibrating machine. The test is expensive, and if Honey is wrong it could go on forever without a fracture; but if he is right . . . ? Scott must assess its potential value in cost-benefit terms.More concerning to Scott is that Mr Honey has devoted much of his spare time to bizarre projects. One is Pyramidology, in which Honey uses the measurements of the Great Pyramid at Giza to determine just where Jesus will return to Earth (the latest estimate: near Iceland). Does this represent Honey’s private time, or is it distracting him from his job? Does it suggest that Honey is bonkers, thus undermining the credibility of his professional work?News arrives that a Rutland Reindeer has crashed in Canada; it turns out that it had about 1,400 flight hours. Gulp! With no survivors and the plane’s carcass deep in the interior, Scott sends a scientist to the crash site to inspect the tail area. The best scientist to send is Mr. Honey, who—unknown to himself—boards a Rutland Reindeer on a flight to Gander in Labrador, then on to Montreal. Over the mid-Atlantic he has a casual conversation with the chief pilot and learns that the plane has over 1,300 hours on it. This is cosmic irony—Honey is sent on a plane that is a poster child for the fatal problem that he is sent on the plane to investigate. Efforts to get the pilot to return to London are futile! During the flight Honey has very human conversations with the stewardess and a famous actress, to whom he confides his concerns; these are not hysterical females, and they set about trying to assist him. Honey impresses them both as very stable and very sane, though a bit odd in a mad-scientist way. In fact, they both fll a bit in love with Mr Honey for his decency. The pilot is less charmed by Honey’s insistence that the plane return to London. And so the plane continues on, a live test of Honey’s fears. Oh. And do they make it? Is the Rutland Reindeer fatally flawed? Well, now—that would be a spoiler!Four Stars!

  • Phil
    2019-01-22 15:54

    Cleverly structured, if slightly repetitive story about a small group of people waiting for something disastrous to happen, and how this forges relationships and leads to different ways of seeing their own lives. As always with Shute, characterisation is subtle and sympathetic, as window into the day-to-day minutiae of ordinary English people living in the 1950s its detail is incomparable. There's also a great deal about aeronautical engineering, which was the author's day-job career, and another instance of his uncanny prescience, this time in its theme of airframe metal fatigue causing major problems to an airline and the people associated with his fictitious 'Reindeer' aircraft, which would come to pass in less than 10 years with the real Comet airliner.

  • Sherry Schwabacher
    2019-02-19 22:00

    I originally read this after seeing the excellent movie, NO HIGHWAY IN THE SKY, which starred James Stewart and Marlene Dietrich. Loved the book even more. Though I was still a child at the time Shute wrote this, the social attitudes that many reviewers have commented on were real. I think it's important to read books from other times in order to understand how far we've come and how far we have to go. I wonder what people 60 years from now will have to say about our culture?

  • Amy Heap
    2019-02-07 15:46

    I didn't like this nearly so much as other Nevil Shute books I have read. It is the story of a piece of research into airplanes, that becomes very practical when one crashes. Lots of technical detail, blustering males and women who think their best contribution might be cooking, cleaning and picking out clothes for a clever man.

  • Tom Burkhalter
    2019-02-09 21:41

    The story is still goodI read this book for the first time over 40 years ago. It's still a good read, which is unusual given the way one's tastes change over time. Anyone who enjoys aviation stories will enjoy this one.

  • Assour Ali
    2019-01-30 21:50

    This book is one of those that you keep drawn to so that you might touch the every day bravery of the normal hard working plodder in life. The mundane, ordinary , boring man who is capable of miracles in such a unself conscience way that he is just a smidgen away from being an angel. A must read .

  • Roslyn Page
    2019-01-24 18:53

    Borrowed from Michel Dignaud3.7 Very good. While it is till about airplanes and flying I found it more interesting than Round the Bend. I has all the hallmarks of Shute. Good characterisation and story telling.

  • Aviva
    2019-02-18 17:04

    The story is fun but it is very dated, set as it is in Britain shortly after WWII.

  • Nick Wale
    2019-02-08 16:48


  • Sergio
    2019-01-20 18:06

    Un romanzo "dimenticabile"...

  • Derek Collett
    2019-02-01 21:41

    The premise of this book is excellent; the execution is another matter entirely.Using a new nuclear theory, boffin Theodore Honey calculates that the tailplane in a newly introduced passenger aircraft is likely to fail from metal fatigue after about 1440 hours in the air. His boss at the Royal Aircraft Establishment in Farnborough, Dr Scott, sensibly issues an edict stating that no Reindeer aircraft should fly more than 700 hours until Honey's theory has either been proven correct or found wanting.Honey flies to Canada to investigate the wreckage of a Reindeer that crashed in Labrador, apparently as a result of pilot error, after flying for 1393 hours. Whilst in the air, Honey learns from the flight crew that the Reindeer they are travelling in has, unbeknownst to Farnborough, already flown for about 1426 hours and is therefore riding for a fall. Honey urges the pilot to turn back but, not being an especially persuasive individual, fails to convince him of the importance of his demand.The plane lands safely at Gander to refuel. Honey tries to persuade the pilot to fly no further but he again refuses, being determined to press on to Montreal. Honey is therefore left with no alternative in his mind but to pull up the plane's undercarriage while it is on the tarmac, thus grounding it until further notice. The rest of the book deals with the ramifications of Honey's drastic action and whether he is right about fatigue, or just an unbalanced crank (he is also obsessed with the prophetic significance of the measurements of the Great Pyramid and uses his twelve-year-old daughter Elspeth as a psychic medium for attempts at automatic writing).This book flies merrily along for about 100 pages. But appropriately enough, once the Reindeer is grounded at Gander No Highway grinds to a halt for a long period and struggles to get airborne again. This is largely because the book's technical basis, which is far and away its most impressive feature (Anthony Burgess once observed that 'No Highway must be looked on with awe as a rare novel that has changed not social thinking but aerodynamic doctrine') is relegated to the background whilst Honey's uninteresting domestic arrangements are hauled centre stage and examined in mind-numbing detail. Whilst he is in the air above the Atlantic, the boffin befriends both a world-famous actress and a beautiful young stewardess; that both these desirable women should subsequently end up spending considerable time in Honey's flat in Surrey, ministering to his sick child, frankly beggars belief. The stewardess more or less abandons her life and career in order to care for Honey and Elspeth, and, farcically, even becomes engaged to the scientist before this book reaches its improbable conclusion.Given the many similarities between Shute and Nigel Balchin, and my well-known interest in the latter, it is instructive to speculate on how Balchin would have handled the same material. I am certain that he would have slashed the length of the novel by about 50% (it is much too long), jettisoned the far-fetched entanglements with the actress and the stewardess and concentrated far more attention on the really interesting meat of this story, namely the scientific and political elements.There is so much good material here-Honey's tension-fuelled flight to Canada; round-table conferences about the future of the Reindeer (very Balchinesque!); the long sequence of phonecalls fielded by Scott after Honey grounds the Reindeer; Scott's trek through dense Canadian woodland in search of the failed Reindeer tail (more could have been made of this)-but it is unfortunately swamped by the author's tedious focus on Honey's domestic affairs (even floor-cleaning and washing-up sessions are described!). The book's ending (Honey is proved right because the tail of the crashed Reindeer did fail as the result of a fatigue fracture) feels a little hurried and comes almost as an anticlimax after so much padding in the latter two-thirds of the novel. In No Highway, the sappiness and sentimentality that bedevil the worst examples of Shute's fiction damage (but do not quite succeed in destroying) what could have been an excellent novel in more competent hands.

  • Scilla
    2019-01-27 17:56

    This is a great book! Dennis Scott has taken charge of the Structural department of the Royal I reread this book between Oct 31 and Nov 2, 2016. I had forgotten how good it is!Dr. Scott, the narrator, is a supervisor at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, where research is done on aircraft. His wife, Shirley taught music and drawing at the local school, and became interested in a student, Elspeth Honey, whose father worked for Dennis. Scott looks into Honey's research which involved fatigue in the tailplane of the Reindeer, a plane Britain was using for its trans Atlantic flights. His calculations predicted the tailplane would fail after 1440 hours of flight. Mr. Honey was a very strange man whose wife died in the war. He was bringing up his daughter himself, and believed in talking with the dead and that Jesus grew up in England and would come back. In spite of this, Scott believes in Honey's research and finds out that the planes had only flown about 400 hours so far. Then they find out a plane has crashed in Canada. The accident report calls it pilot error, but Scott wants to find out for sure. He sends Mr. Honey to Canada to examine the tailplane. On the flight to Canada, Mr. Honey charms a famous actress and the stewardess and gets in trouble with the flying crew. I'll stop here so as not to spoil the story which has some exciting moments and causes Scott a lot of worry.

  • Sue
    2019-02-18 22:42

    Dennis Scott is manager of an office of engineers working on various aeronautical concerns. One of these men, Theodore Honey, is investigating fatigue failure in the tail portion of the Reindeer - a fleet of British Trans-Atlantic planes. It is his belief that the tail will show evidence of fatigue failure at 1440 hours of service. Getting others to believe him is difficult. If only they had concrete evidence. Then they receive word of a crash in Canada attributed to pilot error but the plane had an appropriate number of service hours and a senior level pilot. Is this the break they needed? I enjoyed this, although it got a bit technical at the beginning with the engineering explanation of the type of failure. Perhaps my working for a company involved with supplying components to the airlines (commercial and military) contributed to my enjoyment. I understand about the need for engineering evaluations that are done to qualify a system or analyze a failure. It is interesting to think about this as a precursor for what might be standard knowledge today. apart from that, it is an interesting cast of characters to get to know and follow. Essentially it is two families and the impact that the investigation has on them. The appropriate government officials are brought in as necessary.

  • Ugh
    2019-02-15 18:38

    I loved the premise of this - enough to overcome my initial balking at the rather hideous font. It's the 40s. A new model of plane has crashed, with the investigation finding that it was pilot error. But one lone - unfortunately quite possibly crackpot - scientist thinks that a structural instability with its origins in nuclear theory may have been at fault, and there are more of these planes in the skies...And the premise gets even more gripping about 70 pages in (I won't spoil it for you). But unfortunately No Highway has two large flaws: it is very repetitive, to the point that whole groups of pages could have been scrapped, and it includes a subplot/subtheme that these days seems so silly one can't help but wince at its inclusion. There are also one or two romantic subplots that, although basically fine, are also just a bit too pat for modern eyes. I've never thought this before, but this is a book that would benefit from translating to the written word the recent cinematic practice of remaking. I wouldn't condone such a thing, because the practice would no doubt spread to books that would be far better off left alone, but in No Highway's case it would resurrect a very good plot from the crippling impact of 1940's naivety.

  • Tatiana
    2019-02-01 17:47

    I'd forgotten how good this one was. My favorite scene was the meeting when all the proper British types let fly at one another over the matter of the possibility of fatigue fractures in the tailplane of the fictional Reindeer aircraft. It reminded me of many a contentious meeting I've seen while working to put new machinery into commission in mills and plants around the world. I was very proud of our narrator for standing by his employee Mr. Honey even when he did something so crazy as lifting the undercarriage of a plane that the operators wouldn't ground that was unsafe. He pulled the switch to lift the undercarriage while the plane was sitting on the tarmac. Up went the wheels and down came the plane on its belly. He grounded it all right. =) I wish my bosses would stand behind their employees so steadfastly as that.The movie they made of this book features James Stewart as Mr. Honey, and he's perfect for the role. When something similar happened to real airplanes in Britain a decade after this book came out, people asked "Where is Mr. Honey?" Nevil Shute is so funny and great. His books are totally true to life. He's got the greatest understated sense of humor. Mr. Honey is one of my favorite of his characters. Please read this one. It's a sheer delight.

  • Jim
    2019-01-29 16:02

    To continue with a sailing analogy, I know the reading doldrums when I hit them. And I was right in them, desperate for a breeze. I could have gone for Le Carre, but I need a decent book for holiday, and he could supply it. What I was looking for was a novel with plot, characters and a level of intelligence, and that's difficult to find these days. So hark back to the past. Greene I'd already tried, so who else? Who wrote The Caine Mutiny? I couldn't remember. James Clavel? Sorry, the gripping highs of King Rat were totally trashed by the soap opera banality of Tai Pan. So what else had I read that impressed me with a knack for top-flight story telling? "A Town Like Alice". Nevil Shute. That old chap can write. Convinced by my choice, I spent a tenner on two of his books off the internet and, I am pleased to say, the sixty page litmus test sped by. There are two extremes of the litmus test - the first is throwing the book down at page sixty one in frustration, and the other is putting it down at page sixty one to make the book last longer. This book is in the latter category.