Pied Piper

Pied Piper

Paperback - 2009
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As recommended on BBC4's A Good Read - 'A very good writer...simple, elegant and readable...a fantastic story' Jonathan Coe

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY JOHN BOYNE

John Howard is determined to brighten up his old age by taking a fishing trip to France. However, during his stay the Nazis invade and he is forced to try to escape back to England with the two small children of some friends who are forced to stay behind in order to help the Allied war effort. As the conflict grows closer the roads become impassable and Howard also comes across five more children who need his help. He ends up leading this motley group of youngsters through the French countryside, constantly beset by danger yet heroically protecting his charges.

Nevil Shute Norway was born on 17 January 1899 in Ealing, London. After attending the Dragon School and Shrewsbury School, he studied Engineering Science at Balliol College, Oxford. He worked as an aeronautical engineer and published his first novel, Marazan , in 1926. In 1931 he married Frances Mary Heaton and they went on to have two daughters. During the Second World War he joined the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve where he worked on developing secret weapons. After the war he continued to write and settled in Australia where he lived until his death on 12 January 1960. His most celebrated novels include Pied Piper (1942), No Highway (1948), A Town Like Alice (1950) and On the Beach (1957).

Publisher: London, England : Vintage Books, 2009.
ISBN: 9780099530220
Characteristics: 303 pages ;,20 cm.

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wyenotgo
Aug 28, 2015

As is the case with most of nevil Shute's books, this one centres around World War 2. But in other respects, it is quite different from most of the others; there is nothing about aviation or military life, other than the activities of the war that provides the setting for this charming story about an old man and the monumental task he took on, to manage the escape of a group of children from war-torn France.
I just finished re-reading this book now and found it to be just as enjoyable as when I first read it about 35 years ago.

dgrb Nov 29, 2014

About 40 years ago i had a major Nevil Shute binge, reading just about everything he wrote.

Oddly, this was the one book I could not get on with and didn't even finish.

Maybe it's time to try it again.

I think my favourite Shute book is probably Trustee from the Toolroom.

j
jazpur
Nov 28, 2014

I missed this one back in the day and have only just read it; now with the added perspective of being elderly. Pied Piper is one of Nevil Shute's best. It was written in 1942.While I was a toddler in NZ , stories just like this one were happening across Europe as families tried to get their children to safety ahead of the German invasion. As the anniversaries of WWII are commemorated, fiction developed from research and family stories passed down through the generations is becoming a popular genre and very good some of it is for giving us an insight into how the horrors of war affected ordinary people. This one however is contemporary with the events and has an immediacy which is very moving. A little aside... Swearing is commonplace these days. It's interesting now to see Shute's use of the letter 'm' instead of 'b' and 'f'...another time, another generation. A b/w film was made in 1942 which was nominated for numerous awards.Re-named Crossing to Freedom, a TV version starring Peter O'Toole, came out in 1990. It is time for the re-make or some re-issuing is needed for today's audiences.

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