General data The authorof ‘On the beach’ is Nevil Shute. He was an English novelist and aeronauticalengineer. He is born is London in 1899 and he died at the age of 60 in 1960. Inthe Second World War, Nevil Shute was involved in developing various armamentsystems for the air force. Nevil Shute based most of his novels on his own warexperiences (he fought in both world wars). The publisher of ‘On the beach’ isHeinemann and the year of the first publication is 1957.GenreThe genre of the bookis post-apocalyptic fiction, a subgenre of science fiction. The entire book isabout the end of the world.
I’ll illustrated by the following quote of thebook: “It’snot 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 willget along all right without us.” ~ John OsborneIt’sclear that this quote is about the end of the world and that’s why this is apost-apocalyptic fiction book.
SummaryAyear before the story begins, there was a nuclear war. The whole northernhemisphere is destroyed and uninhabitable. Only in Australia still livepeople. Peter Holmes and his wife Marylive in Melbourne. The radioactivity will also slowly come to southern hemisphere,the radiation reaches Melbourne in circa six months. Peter Holmes is going to work on a submarine,the Scorpion, which is captained by Dwight Towers.
They are going to see whatthe situation is in the rest of the world. There he meets Moira Davidson. Peter,Moira and John Osborne (a scientist) investigate the radioactivity in differentplaces. On their first trip, the only living creature they see is a dog. Theydon’t see living people. Nobody knows how the war has started. Probably, thenuclear war began between China and Russia.
Moira is in love with Dwight, butDwight has a wife in the USA and he don’t know if his wife and children arestill alive. That’s why they don’t have a relationship. There are radio signalsfrom New York caught and Dwight and Peter next mission is to investigate theradio signals. The radio signals seem to come from San Francisco.
They go withthe submarine to San Francisco, because there is a let of radiation they wearprotective clothing. They don’t see live in San Francisco and the radio signalsmeans nothing. A man of the crew goes to his family without protecting clothes.He sees his family dead in their house. He can no longer join the submarine,because he would infect the rest of the crew.
The man dies in the USA. Theradiation will come soon and everyone do things they want to do in their lastdays. John Osborne drives with his Ferrari in the Australian Grand Prix. Muchdrivers takes a lot of risks and crash in the race. John wins the race. At theend of August, everyone is ill. Many people take a suicide pill.
John takes thepill while he is sitting in his Ferrari. Peter kills Jennifer and Peter andMary take the pill together in their bed. Dwight and other crew members letthemselves sink in the submarine. Moira takes the pill when she sees that thesubmarine is sinking. Themes & messageThemain theme is the end of the world. What is going to happen when you know youhave only a few months to live. What are you going to do? What dreams are yougoing to fulfil? Everyone has dreams, but not everyone can fulfil their dreams.
An example of a dream are Peter and Mary, who are planning their garden. Theywant to change their garden next year, despite they know they won’t be therenext year. TitleThebook is called ‘on the beach’. On the beach water and beach are meeting eatchother. The beach is often associated with the begin and the end. The book isalso about the end. So that’s why the book is called on the beach.
It alsorefers to the end of the book, when Moira takes a pill on the beach and died. Characters- Peter HolmesPeter works hard on the submarine and he helps his wife Mary on thesubmarine. He is strong man, strongenough to kill his daughter with the pill. Peter is a friendly man and healways wants the best for everyone. – MaryMary is the wife of Peter. She likes gardening and do things around theworld.
She takes care of her daughter Jennifer. Mary wants to think as littleas possible of the world’s perishing. – Dwight TowersDwight is the captain of a submarine which is called Scorpion. He is aloyal man and continues to believe that his family is still alive, despite thenuclear war in America. That makes him optimistic. He remains nice even thoughhis family is probably dead.
– Moira DavidsonMoira is a friend of Peter and Mary. She tries to escape the realitywith dancing and drinking. Moira is also good friends with Dwight, but theydon’t have a relationship, because Dwight doesn’t know whether his wife isstill alive. – John OsborneJohn is a scientist on the submarine. He likes to drive with his Ferrariand traveling with the submarine. At the least months of his life, he would to fulfilhis dreams. He tries to hide his fears. Place and timeThestory takes about six months.
It takes place after a nuclear war. The book isset in Australia, especially Melbourne. Twice, people make a trip with asubmarine to check if there’s somewhere life in the world outside of Australia.The story is told in the third person. It switches from person to person, soyou see know the whole story. It’s inchronological order and there’re a few flashbacks.
There are also a lot ofdialogs in the story. Personal opinionIgive this book a thumbs up! I think it’s an interesting book, because it’swritten about a topic you don’t often think about. I think it’s an importantsubject and through this book, I’ve been thinking more about this subject. Ifthings went wrong during the cold war, something like this could happen. I alsolike that it is written realistically.
The book is easy to read and I wouldrecommend this book to everyone!