Du bist hier: Referate Datenbank | Englisch
| Shute, Nevil: A Town Like Alice
Shute, Nevil: A Town Like Alice
Originaldokument enthält an dieser Stelle eine Grafik!
Original document contains a graphic at this position!
A Town Like
A TOWN LIKE ALICE
by Nevil Shute
Nevil Shute is the pseudonym of the British novelist N. S. Norway. He was
born in England in 1899 and died in Australia in 1960.
Other novels: No Highway
In the West
Requiem from a Wren
She is the niece of Douglas Macfadden and she inherits a considerable
amount of money when he died. She tells Mr. Strachan about her life in
He is the uncle of Jean Paget and she is his last relative.
He is the solicitor of Douglas Macfadden.
He is an Australian lorry driver who is also a prisoner of the
In this book a young woman from England tells her experiences which she had
as a girl aged about 20 years old. Her name is Jean Paget. She tells her story
to Mr. Strachan, the senior partner of a firm of solicitors. Recently Jean has
met her acquaintance because she is the niece - and the last relative - of
Douglas Macfadden. Mr. Macfadden (Mr. Strachan`s client) has died and Jean
inherits a considerable amount of money, but she doesn`t get it all in all.
Every month she gets a little part of that money. That was Mr. Macfadden`s idea,
because he didn’t believe that women could deal with so much money. After
Mr. Macfadden`s death, Mr. Strachan had to find his client’s last
relative. After a while, he`s found Jean Paget, a young typist in the office of
a concern called Pack and Levy Ltd. He invites her to tell her the facts of her
For some time, they often met to go to the theatre or to go out to have
dinner. One day she tells Mr. Strachan about her past:
Jean`s father had a job in Malaya, so the whole family lived there. Jean
got older and when she was about 20 years old, she got a job in a Malayan
office. In these days there was the war between Japan and US. She was one of the
last persons to leave the country. On the last lorry which wanted to drive to
the nearest port were about 30 families and Jean Paget.
Meanwhile, the Japanese army had invaded part of the island. As the lorry
was on its way it was stopped by the Japanese. All persons on it were imprisoned
but the families were separated. The men were driven to jail, the women and
children had to stay at an old school. The local Japanese commander didn`t want
to assume responsibility for these women and, to solve this problem, marched
them out of his district.
In the next days this group of about 30 persons walked along the roads. The
group were sent from town to town and from cottage to cottage. Sometimes in a
town they were unwelcome and so they got less to eat, they hadn`t anything to
wash and they hadn`t got any medicine. They suffered from many diseases, for
example dysentery and malaria. Many of the women and children died. Jean Paget
survived because she was a very strong woman. She helped the others with their
children and cared for the sick persons. She spoke a little bit Malayan so they
hadn`t so many problems to get something to eat or to sleep. She was dressed
like a Malayan woman because it was very practicable.
On their way they met two Australian lorry drivers (they were also
prisoners). These men helped the little group of prisoners very much. They
brought them some medicine and soap. One of the Australian prisoners, Joe
Harman, had stolen a few chicken from a Japanese commander. Jean and Joe talked
very much about their home country and what they do at home and about many other
things more. They liked each other.
One of the Japanese soldiers got to know that Joe had stolen the chicken
and so Joe was tortured by them. After that he was crucified. That was the last
that Jean had seen of him, she thought that he was dead.
The women walked on and one day they came to a little cottage where they
asked if they could stay at this place. The inhabitants agreed but the woman
were imprisoned for two and a half years.
Now Jean has inherited so much money, she goes on a journey to visit the
home of Joe Harman. By chance they meet each other again and Jean decides to
stay at Joe`s hometown and modernise and develop it.
This story really happened, not in Malaya but in Sumatra. After the
conquest of Malaya in 1942, the Japanese invaded Sumatra and quickly took the
island. A group of about eighty Dutch women and children were collected in the
vicinity of Padang. The Japanese didn`t know what to do with the women they sent
them around the island by walking.
"A Town Like Alice" is a beautiful story about a young girl with
many experiences in her short life. I read this book and I think that nobody
could do such ugly things to people to send them around an island only to get
rid of them. Of course in a war everything is different but the Japanese were
known as human. So the women couldn`t really believe what happened to them. They
suffered from many diseases and had no medicine. They had to beg for food and
places to sleep in. In some villages the inhabitants were very unfriendly to
them, they didn`t give them anything and sent them to the next village. In some
others the women got a lot.
I think Nevil Shute had done something good with this book because people
should know how terrible the war was. People should learn from their mistakes in
the past and shouldn`t repeat them.