Nevil Shute Norway was born on January 17,1899 as the son of Arthur Hamilton Norway, a writer of travel books, in Ealing, Middlesex, England (Locker 396). Nevil Norway spent his early years during the early parts of the Sinn Fein Rebellion, where he helped served with the Red Cross. He later served as a soldier in France during World War I. After the wars end in 1918, he returned home and went to Oxford to finish his studies (Kunitz 1034). He had gained an interest in engineering and aeronautics after being influenced through the many years of war.
He also had a craving for writing and describing things on paper, which would later help him in his studies, engineering career, and his future writings (Locker 396). Some years after graduating from Oxford he became Chief Engineer for the famous airship R100. During this time is when he completed his first novel, Marazan. When the R100 disaster occurred, the company ended the building of airships and Nevil Norway turned his devotion to the manufacturing of airplanes and created his own business, Airspeed Limited.
His second novel, So Disdained, was published in 1926 and released in the United States, as The Mysterious Aviator in 1928 (Kunitz and Haycraft 1034). During this time he began to write under the Christian name Nevil Shute, because he feared that his reputation as a fiction writer would hinder his engineering career (Internet). Through the next many years, up until World War II, Nevil Shute published many more books. Shute then moved to Australia in 1949, to concentrate on his writings. During his Poucher 2 years through both world Wars, his experiences greatly influenced his writings.
His statement, to write something which could make me forget that there was such a thing as war, demonstrates how much the wars actions and aftermath reflected upon him (Shute, An Old Captivity). Nevil Shute is a Contemporary Arthur in the Twentieth Century who distinguishes his writings by his realistic adventures and detailed descriptions of modern society and their lifestyles. His settings combined with his imagination creates a truly unique type of literature that relates to many readers and survivors of his generation. Shutes adventures and the life of his characters are also from a mind of creativity.
Shutes adventures consist of small town and small English family life. He uses his experience and his personal past in creating such scenarios. In Ordeal, a small English family is thrown out of their home in Southampton and forced to take refuge on a houseboat. This was drawn from Shutes early childhood experience during the Sinn Fein Rebellion (Locker 396). Shute spent many of his writing years in Australia, where he derived at his main source of information for some of his adventures, such as On The Beach, where the base of the action is located in Australia (Shute, On The Beach).
His characters are also unique in his works. They consist of person to person dialogue in first person. His dialogue is mostly straightforward and relevant to the novels plot. Shute keeps his characters running smoothly to the plot along with the novels sequence of events. He does not have the characters thrown into his plots. All the characters serve a purpose and a direct affect in Shutes novels( Shute, Pied Paper). Shute uses a unique style in describing and building his settings for his novels.
Some of his settings are set in the future, sometimes being decades ahead of the publication dates. The novels written were still believable and related to the present dates of which he wrote them, instead of having all the advanced technologies and bewildered society life of the people (Shute, Poucher 3 On The Beach). Many of his settings and plots were based on post war or war times in his novels, such as On The Beach, The Far Country, and Pied Paper. Even though a novel of his was set twenty years in the future, he writes it as just being the day ahead of him.
His skies, clouds, and earths atmosphere are still all natural and the people still use and deprive the lands as they do. In fact, all his writings are really just about his present day experiences and thoughts, that are set in the future with another date in time, and another adventure (Stone and Marowski). In his work, In The Wet, he wrote, No man can see into the future, but unless somebody makes a guess from time to time and publishes it to stimulate discussion it seems to me that we are drifting in the dark, not knowing where we want to go or how to get there.
Shute also uses his technical knowledge and experience in combining his fast paced plots with his characters actions and lifestyles. He is able to write and motivate his work, because of his experience as an engineer and aviator (Locker 396). An engineer is someone who can do for ten shillings what any fool can do for a pound. This quote demonstrates how highly he thought about his work and how much he pushed to the limits of an author (Internet). He does not use any outrageous technical advances. He keeps his novels realistic.
He is able to use and reflect his technical skills in his writings, because of his experience as an engineer and aviator (Locker 396). Though his settings are in the future, the same principles for communications and transportation are seen used as in his present date. His style builds character and individuality for his novels and adventures. Nevil Shutes imagination is one to be noted. Shute is able to create scenes and events in the future that are so close to reality, that an event similar, actually become true.
Many of his novels, such as Ordeal, were written several years prior to an actual event that occurred, much like the event that occur in his novels (Stone and Marowski). Many of his characters resembled many live, living people of the time. Nevil Shute made sure to clarify any assumptions about his Poucher 4 characters, My characters have no existence except in imagination, and no reference towards any living person (Shute, An Old Captivity). Everything Shute creates is from mind and feeling.
Much of his writings were a uplifting treatment of his stressful problems he acquired throughout his unsteady years. Much of Shutes thoughts were put onto paper, but he was able to put his thoughts into words that make the novel seem like a true chronicle (Stone and Marowski 922). That shows how advanced his thinking and actions were, and how he was able to express this in his novels. His use of imagination instead of basing his novels on real life events and references, is what makes his work so realistic and gripping of his readers.
Nevil Shute wrote a total of twenty four novels in his time. All reflecting his love for engineering, aviation and ability of predicting the future( Kunitz and Haycraft 1034). His straightforwardness of the dialogue of his characters and the realistic approach of his scenes allows his readers to maintain focus and enjoy his work. His use of past experiences and passions allow the reader to cherish and create a sense of relationship between them and his work. Nevil Shute, a Twentieth Century author, is an author who has gone beyond the limits in creating the futuristic novel.