Best 1947 Adventures (6)

By: Joshua Glenn
June 10, 2017

One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1947 adventure novels. Happy 70th anniversary!


Nevil Shute’s Robinsonade The Chequer Board.

Several of Shute’s novels offer a particular flavor of adventure that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. They’re Robinsonades, of a sort; that is, they’re about ordinary people who display an extraordinary capacity for hard work, ingenuity, and common sense as they attempt to build a life for themselves in a hostile or unlikely environment. I’m a sucker for this sort of thing, so The Chequer Board is particularly enjoyable, since it tells several such stories. Jackie Turner, a salesman who discovers he’s dying of cancer, finds himself wondering what happened to several soldiers — a British pilot, a British Commando, and an African-American serviceman — who’d been kind to him when they all ended up in a hospital together, after a plane crash during the war. Hoping to do these men a kindness, if he can, he sets out in search of them — and we learn how each of the men established themselves and thrived once the war had ended. It’s a charming yarn — and there’s a strong anti-racist message, to boot.


Let me know if I’ve missed any 1947 adventures that you particularly admire.


Adventure, Lit Lists