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Round the Bend af Nevil Shute

Round the Bend (original 1951; udgave 2019)

af Nevil Shute (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
4271343,833 (3.77)24
En engelsk erhvervsflyvers beretning om sit luftfragtfirma og om sin flyvemekaniker, der bliver ophavsmand til en slags åndelig oprustning på Østens flyvepladser.
Titel:Round the Bend
Forfattere:Nevil Shute (Forfatter)
Info:Reading Essentials (2019), 294 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek

Detaljer om værket

Hvilket menneske. af Nevil Shute (1951)


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Viser 1-5 af 13 (næste | vis alle)
There's something about Nevil Shute's prose that is quite beguiling. It's not poetic or florid; more it's a quality of the way he scrutinises the emotions of his characters. His narration is cool, but much lies under the surface. The usual mood is reserve, endurance. But under that quiet exterior there is turbulence indeed.

The narrator of Round The Bend is Alan Cutter, an aircraft engineer, pilot and entrepreneur who starts an air freight business in Bahrain. The story is the account of his friendship with Connie Shaklin, an engineer who founds a new religion.

This is the second novel of Shute's that I've read. The first was the most famous; On The Beach. As with On The Beach, Round the Bend begins slowly and in an unassuming way. But this quality of observation is just acute and intelligent enough to keep you reading. And then something happens that strikes a lightning bolt through the life of the narrator.

Shute reminds me of another of my favourite novelists, Andrew Miller. They share the same quality of tenderising you. Their characters' interior landscapes draw you into a place of sensitivity. Shute's characteristic flavour is emotional burdens such as guilt or yearning, and especially missed opportunities. This book's plot is quiet, but you are still gripped by a sense of increasing pressure. Despite its title it is not meandering.

One of the triumphs of this book, for me, is the setting. It has great charm. The Bahrain airstrip is a stripped-down place of sand, hangars and engines. The main characters hop between the continents, delivering goods, setting up more export bases, leaving behind personnel who spread Shaklin's infleunce. Shute would never be so clumsy as to make the comparison with angels, these people who spend so much time in the sky in their machines, but you are drawn to entertain yourself with the idea. A charming, haunting story. Tom Cutter is in love with airplanes and has been from his boyhood. He can remain in England, an employee in another man's aviation business, or he can set out on his own. With little more than personal grit and an antique aircraft, Cutter organizes an independent flying service on the Persian Gulf. He sees opportunities everywhere, also dangers. "In Cutter's growth from provincial conservative to worldly entrepreneur, Shute brings us a fine portrayal of a man willing to accept pain and danger in his search for personal growth." (B-O-T Editorial Review Board)
  Alhickey1 | Oct 1, 2020 |
St. Barts 2020 #6 - Not the best of Shute, but an oddly interesting tale of early commercial air service in the mid-east post WWII. The downside of this book is that it all seemed like some in-depth background before the real story started....but it never did. Tom Cutter, a British aviator trying to start anew after some unfortunate circumstances resulting from the war, heads out with a tired old plane an goes to Bahrain to provide charter air service for mostly cargo. The tale weaves together financial challenges, the stark landscape, political challenges, a diverse Asian-sourced workforce, religious differences, language challenges, the need for more aircraft, and most importantly a childhood friend he reconnects with who becomes his chief ground engineer who becomes an unlikely spiritual leader throughout Asia. Again, very interesting, fairly well-written, but i just kept waiting for something else to happen. Shute's background in aviation certainly allows us to delve into the detail of maintaining aircraft and bureaucratic challenges of traveling from one small Asian Country to another, which is all well and good....but i just wanted more. I still have some unread Shute on my shelf and this will not dissuade me... ( )
  jeffome | Jan 13, 2020 |
Well, this was fun, but then it was Nevil Shute, who is awesome. Naturally, we have airplanes or boats or both.

Actually, it's mostly airplanes, or aeroplanes I suppose, given that Shute was a Brit/Aussie. Anyway, Tom Cutter got enamored by airplanes at an early age. Basically, he ran away from home at 12 or so to join the circus, the air circus. He made friends with Connie Shaklin, also a young man in the circus. Shaklin was also half Chinese, for what that's worth.

Well, the war comes (WWII) and Tom gets into the RAF. The war ends, and Tom wonders what to do. He decides that he might get himself a small airplane and start up a flying service in the Middle East, Bahrain. So, he hooks up with the local oil companies and what not and flies engineers and equipment around the Mideast.

On a longer flight, he finds himself in Southeast Asia, Siam, perhaps. He ends up delivering something/someone to a hidden airfield set up by a gun runner, a guy who was supplying arms to the rebels in Cambodia and Vietnam who were trying to expel their French colonial rulers. He runs into his old friend Connie Shaklin, who was maintaining the planes for the gunrunner. The gunrunner, himself, is taken into custody. Tom does him a "favor", by taking his plane, larger than the one Tom owns, back to Bahrain. He also takes Connie with him to be his chief ground engineer.

Now that he has a larger plane, he can expand his business. Next thing you know, he decides he needs even a larger plane so as to carry more gear. He gets a loan from the local Sheik. That pisses off the British colonial rulers in the Middle East, and they try to shut Tom down, but back off when the Sheik threatens to cut off the oil...or something.

But, the important part, actually, is about Connie and his unique methods for airplane maintenance. While he is repairing something, he gives little spiritual talks to the engineers working with him. He views his calling as having come from the Creator, and he best honors the Creator by working very hard, very carefully, and very thoroughly. They start having daily prayer meetings outside the hangar at the end of each day. The other ground engineers take up the teachings, and as they disperse to other jobs through out the Middle East, they disseminate Connie's teachings. Amazingly, aircraft maintenance improves wherever Connie's disciples travel. He becomes a cult figure.

Well, there's a lot more. The central question is whether or not Connie has become a religious leader, which is a threat to the colonial authorities, or if he's just gone "round the bend", i.e. gone a bit crazy. I loved this book, but then, as I said above, it's Nevil Shute, so what's not to love?
( )
  lgpiper | Jun 21, 2019 |
I can't remember who recommended this to me but it's a great read! The copy I got didn't have a cover, so I had no idea what it was going to be about when I picked it up, and I think that's a good way to read it.

Very broadly, it's about an English guy who starts up an air charter company in Bahrein in the late 40s, but that's also not what it's really about.

I think that at the time it was actually trying to be racially progressive, but nowadays it reads as Orientalist and colonialist and so on, which is sometimes a little hard to take. Still, the bones of the story are really enjoyable--up to you how much of that you can stand. ( )
  JenneB | Apr 2, 2013 |
Shute explores issues of religion and culture. Although some of the language is a bit condescending, nevertheless for a book written in 1951 it demonstrates quite progressive attitudes towards both religion and non-Europeans. ( )
  John5918 | Jun 30, 2012 |
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En engelsk erhvervsflyvers beretning om sit luftfragtfirma og om sin flyvemekaniker, der bliver ophavsmand til en slags åndelig oprustning på Østens flyvepladser.

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