On the Beach

On the Beach

Book - 1957
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A novel about the survivors of an atomic war, who face an inevitable end as radiation poisoning moves toward Australia from the North.
Publisher: New York, W. Morrow, 1957.
Branch Call Number: SHUT
Characteristics: 320 p. 22 cm.


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Oct 10, 2019


onehalfofyouth May 25, 2019

Morrissey drew lyrical inspiration for the song “EVERYDAY IS LIKE SUNDAY” from the 1957 novel "On the Beach" by Nevil Shute, which describes a group of people in Melbourne awaiting nuclear fallout. (via songmeanings.com)

JCLMelissaHH Aug 20, 2018

"This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper." ~T.S. Eliot

Indeed, it does in Nevil Shute's novel. Nuclear war would not instantly wipe out the entire human race, the suppositions go, instead condemning most of the world's population to a slow, painful death by radiation poisoning. As cities, countries, whole continents go "out," all there is to do in Melbourne, Australia is wait for the inevitable fallout. It's strange how fascinating a novel about day to day life in 1960s Australia ends up being in that dark context. If I'm looking a little groggy today, it's because I couldn't put this one down last night.

Mar 13, 2018

Dark. Interesting perspective on the times.

Jan 14, 2018

A great, understated end of the world novel.

Sep 21, 2017


BookReviewer2015 Jan 10, 2017

An enduring book about hope and tragedy in the twilight of a nuclear winter, following World War 3.

Dec 18, 2016

I have read all of Neville Shute's books in the fifties. They are all a wonderful read,very insightful about a period my parents lived through. It is amazing that someone is re-issuing some of them. Great!

Nov 06, 2016

A taste of the 1950's nuclear terror that was a very real to that generation and still is relevant to us. This is worth reading.

Oct 13, 2016

My literary tastes lean more maximalist, and I have a more pessimistic view of humanity, so the fact that I enjoyed this understated novel about the last remaining survivors from a global nuclear apocalypse facing certain death was truly surprising. Like the radioactive dust that's circling the globe in a gentle death vise, Nevil Shute creates a tightly written novel about facing one's inevitable doom with dignity that's no less gripping.

The fate of everyone in On the Beach is pretty much sealed from the get-go, and yet you can't help but root for them and admire their respect for each other and grace in facing the end until the very last page. It makes you think: what would you do if you only had a few more months after some global cataclysm? Would we all slide into one kind of Purge-esque carnal anarchy, or would we keep going about our business, doing the chores, and tending the gardens, and still being neighborly and kind? Shute shows us the possibility of the latter scenario and it's utterly believeable--even to this cynic. Not often you get such a chilling, dark premise in a book, and finish it feeling strangely uplifted.

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TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 06, 2016

It's not the end of the world at all," he said. "It's only the end for us. The world will go on just the same, only we shan't be in it. I dare say it will get along all right without us.


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