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Lonely Road


A novel of love and treason from the author of "A Town Like Alice", and "Pastoral".

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Reviews of Lonely Road

Overall customer rating: 5.000

Lonely Road

by Jan97222 on Dec 26, 2013

Neville Shute is a great writer, and my husband has most of his books??.

Paula K

Looking Down a Lonely Road

by Paula K on Dec 12, 2012

Lonely Road was Shute?s third published novel, and the first to be commercially successful. The author himself said that ??the character studies and the love story appear to have smothered the plot a bit, and these aspects? seem to me to be the best.? Readers may agree that Shute?s perceptive humanity in creating and dealing with his characters is more intriguing than the rather complex tale of apparent Communist gun-running in 1920s England. Wealthy Malcolm Stevenson is an ex-naval officer haunted by memories of war. A deeply reserved man with few friends, ships are both his work and his passion. Eligible young women regularly reject his proposals of marriage, and he turns increasingly to fast cars and too much alcohol to fill the intolerable emptiness of his life. Driving home drunk one night, he accidentally stumbles into what seems to be an espionage plot against England?s government ? and the mystery is somehow connected to Mollie, a paid dance-hall partner with whom he unexpectedly has fallen in love. The web of violence he blundered into is now closing around both of them. Lonely Road seems an exceptionally bleak story for a young man to have written. Shute suffered his own romantic disappointments in his twenties: a fiancée who left him for a man ?very much below her socially,? as he phrased it; later, a gentle rejection that echoes the one received by Stevenson when, early in the book, the young woman he loves is taken completely by surprise at his proposal. (Shute?s girl was reportedly so stunned that she fell off her chair and burst into tears.) He later admitted to having taken these rejections pretty hard. He believed strongly in marriage and family, and seems to have envisioned himself as an aging bachelor, alone ?with no-one giving a damn whether he lived or died.? Fortunately, reality was kinder than fiction, and Shute was happily married by the time his book was published. Shute could always tell a good story, even in his earliest novels. Lonely Road is not without his characteristic understated humor, sympathetic characters, surprising plot twists and an action-filled conclusion. Still, while many of his novels have their share of tragedy, few seem (to me) to have the pervasive sadness of this early book. Interesting and rewarding, and highly recommended.

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