Literature / A Town Like Alice

Nevil Shute's 1950 novel tells the story of Jean Paget as a prisoner of war in Malaya during World War II and then her return to Malaya after the war, where she discovers something that leads her on the search for romance and to a small outback community in Australia. Adapted into a 1956 film and a 1981 miniseries.

Contains such tropes as:

  • A Friend in Need: Joe, the Old Japanese Soldier, and the village headman who takes them in.
  • Going Native: The women live out the war by picking rice in a Malayan village.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Noel does this knowing he is too old for Jean. Joe does this at first thinking Jean is married.
  • Rancher: Joe Bannock, though he didn't own it til the end.
  • Upper-Class Twit: The rubber plantation owner's wife who only thinks it necessary to learn enough Malayan to give orders to the servants.