by Nevil Shute
After finishing this book last night, I have thought too hard about it not to give it 5★
And this is in spite of a protagonist/narrator who I found very unlikeable at the start, and a very unusual preface and confusing first chapter. I reread the preface after I finished the book and found that everything did in fact work.
The wealthy and usually solitary Malcolm drives drunk (definitely) and has a serious accident(apparently) where he sustains a serious head injury. Even confused, Malcolm is a tenacious character who tries to make sense of his fragmented memories of the night.
After recovering, lonely and away from home in Leeds, he goes to a dance hall. The partner he chooses, Mollie, interests him and turns out to have an important link to his story.
As I am typing this, I realise these are a series of fantastic coincidences, but such is Shute’s skill and, even though this was only his third book, he weaves his story together well, so well that in spite of knowing how the story ends I’m hoping for as better outcome for Malcolm and Mollie
Shute has written a brief Author’s Note at the start of my edition, stating that the first chapter of this book was an experiment that wasn’t that well received by all readers. I like it but would say this book is for patient readers only. But, once this tale gets going, it is nearly impossible to put down.