On The Beach

Written by: Nevil Shute
Narrated by: Simon Prebble
Originally Reviewed: 5-15-18 on audible.com
Rating: 1, Must Read for all

  The Slow Inexorable Extinction of Humanity 

I didn’t really know what I was getting into here. I learned about this book tangentially (from another book that I can’t remember now), and picked it up on the $4.95 sale based solely on that reference. What I found was a deliberately pain-staking description of the end of the world. No glorious end, no romantic selfless act, no oppressive government, no anarchist wet dream, no zombies, no… hope. It’s just a brief interlude between the demise of most of earth’s inhabitants and the leisurely death of the very few left.

The psychoanalysis of those who remain and deal with their pending doom is really the story; they face the end while maintaining civility (i.e., when you know the end is imminent, it is your innermost character that is manifested). One can’t help but correlate this work with the more recent, The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. Although the latter is descriptively more perilous, both resonate with the same pessimistic doldrums. The, One Second After trilogy, by William Forstchen is also an excellent related topic.

I truly enjoyed this book and even once was emotionally endeared to a character’s conversation with the submarine captain while he faced his own end. I usually listen at 3x speed and had no problems with version. I’ve listened to several by Simon Prebble and he’s good, but he always seems a bit haughty to me where other British narrators are not.

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