A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute

page 38:

Kuala means the mouth of a river.

Page 56:

“People who spent the war in prison camps have written a lot of books about what a bad time they had,”…”they don’t know what it was like, not being in a camp.”

This book was originally published as “The Legacy”.

This is the story of Jean Paget, a Scottish woman, who was captured together with 80 women and children by the Japanese during World War II in Malaya, when they have been forced to walk through the jungle trails for more than 1200 miles.

The narrator of this story is Noel Strachan, the solicitor of Jean’s heritage and he must act as her trustee until she completes 35 years old.

During the death march, Jean mets an Australian soldier, Joe Harmon also a prisoner of war, who offers to help her and the surviving women and children of this . He pays a high price for this kind of help.

Only when the War finishes, Jean and Joe will be able to share their love in the Australian outback in “A town like Alice”, a modern town like Alice Springs.

This is a very touching story not only during the hard time in the Malaya walk but also during the period of Jean’s life in Australia when she put all her effort in order to promote an Australian city in one of the best and modern cities and helping the local population by offering new jobs.

According to the author’s note, the march and death of the homeless women prisoners happened in Sumatra and thus is based in a true story.

The corresponding movie of this book A Town Like Alice (1956) has Virginia McKenna and Peter Finch as the main actors.


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