Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

A reader's idea of good news

For the sheer pleasure of it, the other day I took of my bookshelf Neville Shute's Pastoral, and began reading it again. Shute wrote this book near the end of WWII. It's a very simple story: A young pilot on an English airbase meets a WAAF (Women's Auxilary Airforce Officer) who also serves on the base, and falls in love with her. She rejects his suit, affecting his ability to operate with his flight team. The book goes on from there. What I love about the book is its unspoken patriotism and the value system underlying the characters' conduct. They believe in the righteousness of their cause, they believe that the jobs are of paramount importance, and they believe in treating others in their community with respect. It's just a nice story, very quietly told. I suspect that, once Hollywood is done with its rash of Iraq war movies and TV shows, I'll conclude that none can hold a candle to the dignity of this storyline. That's the book review. What's the good news? I didn't think the book was in print any more. My copy is a much-beloved first edition that I picked up at a garage sale a long time ago. I've just learned, though, that it was reissued in paperback. This means a whole new generation can discover this book, as well as Neville Shute's other fine books (the best known of which is probably On the Beach