Favourite Book(s) #8 – A Town Like Alice by Neville Shute

Anyone who has been reading my blog for a while will probably know that this is one of my absolute favourite books. My copy was purchased probably 30 years ago from a wonderful bookshop in Guildford called Thorps, which has long since closed.

It was one of those shops that had books on the shelves, on the floor, stairs, windowsills, on tables, chairs, they were everywhere. The first time I took my husband there he commented that books stacked everywhere liked that were a fire risk and did in some instances hinder a swift exit, but to me and many others the shop was magical.

My copy has this exact cover, held on by sellotape that needs replacing and is not in the greatest of shape. If I donated it, it would be refused and placed in a recycling tub I am sure!

I must read this book at least once a year and it has the effect of meeting an old friend and provokes happy memories. Years ago I saw the film with Brian Brown in it, but have not seen that for years. The story is set part in Malaysia, part England and part Australia. Set during the second world war and addresses the horrific experiences endured by those captured by the Japanese. I won’t tell you the rest, but urge you to buy or borrow a copy and read it; out of the depth of war there can be positive experiences and new friendships.

About Julie Goucher

Genealogist, Author, Presenter, native Guildfordian, avid note taker and journal writer. Lover of Books, Stationery & History; Surnames, Butcher & Orlando One-Name Studies. Pharos Tutor for all One-Name Studies/surname courses as well as Researching Ancestors from Continental Europe.
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3 Responses to Favourite Book(s) #8 – A Town Like Alice by Neville Shute

  1. Lisa Hill says:

    Yes, I like this book too. In fact I like a lot of Shute’s work even though it’s a bit dated now and includes attitudes and values we might no longer share.


    • I was reading this book whilst waiting for a train early one morning, probably 25 years ago. I got on the train and continued reading. At the back of my suitcase I had a small zipped section, just right for a book. Went to put the book away, no suitcase. Went through the train like a mad, demented woman and concurred that I had boarded the train leaving the suitcase behind. Rang the railway and police and logged the matter. The suitcase was never found.

      I was thankful that I never heard on the radio that a suitcase was not destroyed in a controlled explosion and my undies scattered across parts of Surrey!

      Now, not too unsurprising I am a bit obsessive when using public transport and always put my book away about 10 minutes before the train arrival and the same for airports.

      Liked by 1 person

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