So Disdained ~ Nevil Shute

► door: A.IJ. van den Berg

Another dud. Though maybe that is a bit too hard. So Disdained was the second novel Nevil Shute published, and he just hadn’t learned the trade by then. The second part of this book is a totally uninteresting spy story, in which the fascists in Italy help the good guys against the Soviet Russians. It’s invincible heroes against evil villains, and that makes it utterly boring.

However, the first part of this book isn’t that bad at all. The narrator is pictured as a dull man, and that makes him an unusual hero for an adventure story. He picks up a hitchhiker on a rainy night, which happens to be a pilot who fought in the same squadron as him during WWI, and now works for the Russians beuase flying is the only thing he’s good at.

The use of a biplane for spying, and the lack of airports or even airstrips also dates the story a lot. So, suddenly other things, the writer unknowingly put into the story, become interesting. Class distinctions. Or the mere fact a man seemed to have to propose first, before any kissing was allowed. Suddenly a book can become more interesting as a time capsule than for any other reason.

Nevil Shute, So disdained
254 pages
Cassel, 1928