Author: Nevil Shute
Pages: 341 pages
Book takes place in the country: YES
Author is from the country: NO
I have visited: NO
This is my 57th read of the year.
This is an old book. I actually bought a hard cover, used, first edition and it has been well loved. This book, I would say, is JUST on the verge of 50% in the country (Bahrain) in order for it to count for me.
This is the story of Tom Cutter, a British man who loves to fly planes. He was working as a mechanic when a circus comes to town. He spends time with their planes and when they pack up to leave, he asks to go with them. They turn him down, but he follows them anyway, and helps out with odd jobs. There he meets a man named Connie who becomes his life long friend.
Tom serves in the war, and when he returns home he gets married to the love of his life. He decides what he really wants to do is fly airplanes, so he buys an old one, and moves to Bahrain to fly charter flights in the Middle East. Before he knows it, his business is booming and he finds he needs to higher a small staff and buy another plane.
He returns home to find out that his wife has committed suicide after she has an affair with another man. Tom decides that he will then stay in Bahrain since nothing is to keep him to return to England permanently. Tom sets up in Bahrain and hires all native workers who are content with low salaries. This allows Tom to stay competative and before knows it, he needs a 3rd plane and more staff.
On one of his flights, he meets back up with Connie and they rekindle their friendship. He talks Connie into coming to work with him. Connie is a hard worker and a great engineer. Soon he is attracting people from all over because of his approach to religion. Connie's motto is - if the men do their job well, they are praying. In a country full of Muslims who pray several times a day, this is attractive. Connie's teachings spread but the religious heads start to get nervous, and ask to have Connie moved to Bali. Tom agrees but only if Connie can continue to help him run his business from that area of the world.
Tom finds that all religions respond to Connie from all over Asia. The story is an interesting take on how religion and doing a job well can go hand in hand. Tom finds that he can run a very successful business in the Middle East because of what Connie has taught his men.
This was a great book. I didn't think I was going to like it at first - that it was going to be too technical about airplanes and mechanical jargon. But it was not. It is very well written, easy to understand, and has a solid message. When I looked at this book on Amazon, this author has quite a following with his other books, so I might have to check out some others in the future. I am glad I found this one.
PS - the name of this book comes from the fact that Tom states that people who know him thought he had gone "Round The Bend" when he decided to set up shop in tiny Bahrain.
Stars: 4 1/2