Round the Bend by Nevil Shute

An unusual, fascinating and even disturbing book. A highly enjoyable read.

Round the Bend is one book where you really should avoid spoilers. Specifically for the last page, which will turn many of your perceptions on their head and also cause you to rethink other things you have read.

The (non spoiler) plot follows the progress of aircraft pilot and engineer Tom Cutter who establishes a charter airline business in the Arabian Gulf, shortly after the second world war. This is a fascinating journey in itself and reveals a lot about the culture of that area and that era.

The other major figure in the book is Tom’s friend Connie Shaklin, a man who is very interested in religion and becomes a kind of religious figure himself.

This is not a religious book or even a book about religion. Atheists and believers alike will both find much to interest them but nothing to offend. Cutter, the narrator, takes a very neutral tone throughout.

Round the Bend is a book that probably should be far better known than it is. It would be a very interesting novel for schoolchildren to study, both in terms of the historical and cultural snapshot it provides as well as the themes it contains.

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