On The Beach
by Nevil Shute
Two years ago, war erupted. A horrible, terrible, nuclear war that destroyed the entire Northern Hemisphere. Two years later, the nuclear fallout is beginning to trickle down into the Southern Hemisphere, giving the people of Australia limited time to make peace with their lives before they are destroyed by the remains of other people’s violence.
Meet Peter, Mary, and baby Jennifer, Dwight, Moria, and John, and get to know them as they live out their last days. Shute’s On The Beach shows a picture of a society knowing its doomed, but living on and making do. Two years is enough to adjust to live without cars, limited reserves and power, and few jobs. Two years is enough to lead people into an optimistic outcome; many continue on with their lives as though they’ll always be the same, as though the garden bench planned this spring will be enjoyed next summer. Others struggle to find the peace and happiness in the day to day, realizing dreams are broken and shattered. Shute’s post war novel shocks the reader by endearing them to the rich characters, but the inevitable cannot be postponed.