Book info

The Chequer Board (2000)

The Chequer Board (2000)
Author
Rating
3.95 of 5 Votes: 1
ISBN
1842322486 (ISBN13: 9781842322482)
languge
English
publisher
house of stratus
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The Chequer Board (2000)
The Chequer Board (2000)

About book: I have read quite a bit of Nevil Shute in the last few years, in part because the stories are very enjoyable, and in part because his characters have a romantic and very attractive quality about them. They are good people.This story more than any other makes me wish I could have met the man and understood how he became such an unusual and frankly progressive voice. Reading this book today, some might be put off by some language (liberal use of the N word by white characters) but it is an honest portrayal of mid-20th century language in small town UK. Others might find the story romantic to the point of sounding like a Pollyanna, until you recall that it was written in the late 1940's. His ideas about race and the ultimate unimportance of race when it comes to personal friendships were so far ahead of his time that I am curious to know how it was received then. According to one article, "In a letter written just before his death in 1960, Mr. Shute admits he thought that his handling of the racial issues would ruin book sales in America". Apparently it did not, which in itself would be an interesting story.I highly recommend this book, and wish it were among the canon for Black History Month.

John Turner receives a medical report that he has less than a year to live as a result of a head injury (shrapnel in the skull) sustained during WWII. At the time of the initial injury, he'd been in a hospital ward with three other patients. It is when he knows he doesn't have much time left that he wonders what happened to the other three men and decided to try to locate them and learn how they are faring. Much of the book is told using flashbacks as Shute has done in a number of the books. I enjoyed this; I intuitively knew that for there to be a story that he must locate the other men but had no idea how it would all be developed and played out. There are references made later in the book to things which were mentioned near the beginning and I found myself going back to try to find the original reference. All in all, a good read.
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Reviews
Vikas Datta
Absolutely brilliant tale of a man with little time left going to see if his companions in a sordid wartime episode need any help and getting surprised by what he finds... Mr Shute has spun a rivetting, heart-warming tale of attitudes, overcoming fears of morbidity, second chances and attempts at redemption for even a less than stellar character, which brings to fore some unforgettable glimpses of war and its effects - while his handling of race relations (considering the book was written in 1947) were most enlightened.... Very readable and memorable...
Linda
The Chequer Board is amazing. Great writing, scenery, and characters. A British man, John Turner, has a few months left to live. His limited time makes him want to track down men he shared a hospital room with during World War II. The men were kind to him and helped him recover. I love Nevil Shute's stories. I'm going to read all of his novels.SPOILERS:Stop here if you don't want to read the spoilers. I summarize books for personal reference because I keep forgetting what I read.Turner goes to B
Lenny Husen
This was a touching and absorbing read, about a terminally ill man, Jackie Turner, who finds meaning in life by searching for long-lost friends. The plot is no more than that, but what makes this book memorable are the themes of racism and forgiveness. Written in 1947 with Shute's inimitable eloquence, The Chequer Board is very simple and unforgettable. It also perfectly conveys the atmosphere of Post WWII England and Burma.There are very droll passages, a delightful excerpt of which is: "She took the Daily Mirror up to Mr. Turner and he took it gratefully, and turned at once to the cartoon of "Jane," who once more had got herself into a predicament that involved the loss of much of her clothing, and he chuckled over it, and laid the paper down."
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