a piece of historical fiction that always seems to be on british "must read all-time" fiction lists, i thought since i enjoyed on the beach so much that i should try another by nevil shute. this book was not as engaging for me as on the beach, probably because it isn't post-apocalyptic.
the book is told by an english lawyer who finds the heir to a trust, a young woman who has already had a lifetime of experience living out the second world war in malaysia, under japanese occupancy. the bulk of the first half of the book is her recounting of that time to her lawyer, while the second half has her pursue her one friend during that experience to australia.
it's a very colonial book. people of colour aren't the same as good english people, and the english are the salt of the earth, particularly the young heroine jean paget, who is a hard-working capitalist.
i learned quite a bit about that mentality and how to work a rice paddy. also that one shouldn't ride 40 miles on a horse if you've only been on one a handful of times.