Having gotten through my annual cycle of Dick Francis and Georgette Heyer re-reads in record time, I am now working my way through my collection of Nevil Shute titles.
I cringed the other day. I saw a review that labeled his work as "historical fiction." He's no more "historical fiction" than Jane Austen. He wrote contemporary fiction about the times in which he lived--his stories are set mostly in World War II, in the early 50s or in Australian outback--and while for many of us, that may be historical times, for the author it was not. More than historical fiction ever could, they reflect the mindset of the day--and of the place. The Chequer Board is about class and race in England during WWII and the post war years. The Far Country is about economic stagnation and socialism in England versus the economic boom in Australia in the early 50s. While fiction, I think that Nevil Shute has done a magnificent job of preserving for posterity what life was like in the years that he was writing--and that is one of the reasons that I so enjoy his work.