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Publisher's Summary

It is the rainy season; a drunk and delirious old man lies dying in the Queensland bush. In his opium-hazed last hours, a priest finds his deserted shack and listens to his last words. Half-awake and half-dreaming the old man tells the story of an adventure set decades in the future, in a very different world….

Nevil Shute Norway (17 January 1899 – 12 January 1960) was a popular British-Australian novelist and a successful aeronautical engineer. He studied at Balliol College, Oxford, and published his first novel, Marazan, in 1926. During the Second World War he joined the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve where he worked on developing secret weapons, but after the conflict he continued to write and settled in Australia where he lived until his death on 12 January 1960. His most celebrated novels include Pied Piper (1942), No Highway (1948), A Town Like Alice (1950) and On the Beach (1957).

©2012 Nevil Shute (P)2012 Audible Ltd

Critic Reviews

“Shute is an honest, exciting adventure writer who blends narrative gift with a fine power of description." (John Betjeman)
"That shattering, unaffected, literary style of his is wholly deceptive...is, in fact, masterly." (H.E. Bates)

What listeners say about In the Wet

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Worst reading of an audio book ever

Gary Waldhorn was enjoyable as David Horton in The Vicar of Dibley, but he must be the most boring narrator I've heard - sometimes I wasn't sure whether he was falling asleep, or was drunk!

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Fascinating novel

I enjoyed this story very much. It was an interesting prediction of 30 years later on the state of England and its Commonwealth. Set in the difficult terrain of afar North Queensland with fascinating but believable characters.

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  • Bond James Bond
  • 13-08-2015

not Shute's best, but still worth reading

This is my 9th Shute audiobook, and most have been excellent reads. This is worth reading, with reservations: First, you know the racial slur that rhymes with bigger? Most of the book is a tale about a person whose name is that slur, and he's ok with it and tells people to call him that, so you hear that word more than you've ever heard it before, and that detracts from the story.
Second, the tale is partly about political relations between England and Australia, and to me it was pretty far-fetched.
I'll probably listen to the rest of Shute's audiobooks but hope to get them on sale.

3 people found this helpful

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  • SMP
  • 10-02-2019

One of Shutes best

Read / listened to most of Shute’s books. This is one of his best. I recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ronny
  • 09-12-2012

Loved it!

Thought provoking view of what might occur in the future in a struggle between the British parliment and the monarchy--from the perspective of a reluctant witness.

1 person found this helpful

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  • B. Fuller
  • 17-05-2021

Wonderful story

This has always been one of my favorite Nevil Shute books, along with The Rainbow and the Rose and Round the Bend.

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  • James
  • 16-04-2021

Not his best work

Remember always that this is written in the 50s. It can seem a little disjointed.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mary Ann Wandell
  • 10-06-2018

Shute is prophetic

With the future that could be, Shute delves into Britain's experiment with Socialism. Although his time line is off, and he could not foresee the "decimalization" of English currency and its acceptance of the Metric system in the 60's, he is on the mark politically. I lived there in those times, and he predicted the political mess perfectly. A worthy read or listen.

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  • Charles
  • 06-04-2013

I could not finish this because of the N-word!!!

What would have made In the Wet better?

I realize that this book was written in the 1950's, but that is no excuse in my opinion. The protagonist nickname is the N-word, and worth part about it is that he has no problem being called the N-word. Just wish Mr. Shute or his editor had had to intelligence to realize that this subtle racism is not ok.

What do you think your next listen will be?

I am currently listening to "The Doom" by Stephen King.

What about Gary Waldhorn’s performance did you like?

He did a good job with this subpar material.

What character would you cut from In the Wet?

The protagonist whose nickname is the N-word.

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  • Pauline
  • 21-01-2013

A Nice Change

I really enjoy a Nevil Shute book - no gratuitous bad language or sex - just a good story.

In this one a priest delirious from an attack of malaria sits with a dying man in 1950's Australia. The priest 'dreams' and the old man babbles his life story. Somehow the story becomes a futuristic England around 1980/90 - not as we know it, but as the author imagines it might be.

An interesting and easy listen narrated perfectly by Gary Waldhorn.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amanda
  • 13-04-2013

Nevil Shute has worn well

I last read this book about 40 years ago and then the story was set in the future.

Also I have now visited Australia during "The Wet" and have a picture in my mind that was not there before.

Now the future has happened and it is interesting to compare his predictions against current history.

He still remains a master story teller and the narrator of this book is superb.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Patricia
  • 13-04-2013

In the wet

An excellent book I could not stop listening. Though it was written over fifty years ago some of it is life like today. A truly good read and I would recommend it to anyone







2 people found this helpful

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  • Dr
  • 30-09-2018

This is a complex and intriguing story that had me hooked and unable to stop listening

I started listening early in the day, but had to break off for a short while. I cold not wait to resume, and kept on until the end. Shute had a great insight into The Commonwealth, and his portrayal of the post war England, with its Socialist government, resonated well with my own life in the 50’s. I doubt if the political climate nowadays would permit some of the racial undertones, but they were sensitively handled, and well written. If you like “fantasy” mixed with reality, this book will be just the ticket. A great read.

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  • Ninjadad23
  • 10-06-2021

uncomfortable listen

looked forward to revisiting this classic story that I fondly recalled but the passage of time has seen the language and terminology, commonplace then, now dated and quite uncomfortable to listen to causing me not to finish.

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  • vasco444
  • 12-02-2021

A gripping tale

In the typical way of Nevil Shute this tale built steadily on the plot and became more and more gripping. I found the. story and the characters utterly believable and was right there with them. Even though I knew the book already, I found it hard to put this down. Nevil Shute is such a skilled storyteller - he never fails.

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  • dianna
  • 19-09-2020

A Story without a Villain

Nevil Shute is a truly great writer. His language is always simple and direct. He builds characters beautifully and thoroughly so that the reader begins to feel part of the reality of the story.
The strangeness of this book: the timeslips, the absence of judgement, the honesty and kindness portrayed all combine to make this a compelling read. The narrator perfectly matched the simple and non-judgmental attitude of the book's "I' to the point that I felt unable to separate myself from the story and continue living outside. I really cared what was happening to the characters, learned a great deal about Australia, and about Shute's feelings about how politics were develop in Britain at the time of writing. I read this when I was a teenager and loved it then. Now a great deal older, I loved having it read to me, and I think saw it in a very different light.
It is a wonderful story, beautifully told.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-06-2020

In The Wet Read this as a teenager.

When I read this as a teenager I was enthralled with it. and over the years have often thought of reading it again. This audio presentation was dreary and I stopped listening to it halfway though. Disappointed

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  • Eleanor
  • 25-05-2020

A thought provoking story

A slow moving but absorbing story very evocative of Australia, having spent three years in Canberra in the 1970s. A very enigmatic but believable tale of "what if"! I was engrossed throughout.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.