An unplifting fable for our times
Written two generations ago and about the depression of the 1930s, nevertheless this is a story that is alive, poignant and so appropriate for our times. And full of hope for the human race. Absolutely one to read now (which is why I bought a copy for my son who has been made redundant in New York, poor soul).
An English banker, working ruthlessly to save his business in the depression, finds his life - especially his personal life - crumbling into pointless ruin. An accident thrusts him into the life of people much more vulnerable than himself: a whole town on the skids - the sort of town that he might have helped (or, in these times, refused to help) with corporate loans.
He finds his salvation, and love, in breaking all the rules of his profession, but using all of his skill and contacts, to get the town and its shipbuilding works going again.
As always with Nevil Shute, this is a piece of superb, compelling story-telling.(with such upright, but believable characters!). Nevil Shute, before he was a hugely popular novelist, was the founder and Chief Executive of an aircraft manufacturing company in the days when such a thing could be founded by one man obsessed with aeroplanes. No wonder he can write about business with accuracy, conviction and an extraordinary sense of the romance of it all.
(One little note of regret - remembering that this book is written by a man of an earlier age. There are some remarks that in our age would be unacceptably racist - mild, but nonetheless offensive. You have to forgive them - they would have passed quite unnoticed in the age in which this book was wriiten.)
Read it, and have hope for the future. Yes we can.