It was the first time I read something of Nevil Shute and I rather liked the book. Perhaps the fact that I read it straight after Nabokov's Lolita did attribute something to this.
I read it in a day and liked it; a nice uncomplicated romance, about nice people; a bit old fashioned. It remembered me of my early reading days, when there were not many childrens book around and I made do with what I could find in the house.
It was written in 1950 and is very much a contemporary novel. I think it was common to speak about coloured people in, now seen as, racist wording. Colonialism was still a normal thing then, although many countries were in the process of decolonization.
Some things in this book are too good to be true; the co´ncidence of Joe and Jean Paget both hearing news about each other and others. Also the story of how its told by Strachan is a bit far fetched, in the sense that he is, wrongly, presented as an omniscient narrator. He seems to hover above all, knowing all and that is just not possible.
What surprised me, although I should have known it, is the story of the capture of British and Australians by the Japanese. I only know the tales of the Dutch that have suffered in the camps of the Japanese (women and children) and the men working on the Burma Railway. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanes...n_of_Indonesia
In that sense this book has contributed to my awareness of their history.
Also it was one of the few times that I read something about life in Australia in the 50ies.