Reading Rewards Ahead

woman readingKIN brings you more good books

Autumn is in, winter approaches and the time for getting together with a pile of good books is upon us again.

KIN is lucky to have Ralph McAllister on board to help us make the right choices. So here, with our blessing, is Ralph’s latest selection…


By Ralph McAllister

It was a joy to read SYDNEY BRIDGE UPSIDE DOWN by David Ballantyne when it was re-issued a couple of years ago.

A forgotten classic. 

The same can be said about STONER by John Williams.

Some fifty years after its original publication this great American novel is now getting the attention it so richly deserves.

William Stoner lives and dies a teacher: his life is ordinary ,his relationships tortuous and sad,his wife is probably mad and his daughter ,well you get the picture.

What shifts the novel to remarkable heights is the delicate precise and simple prose which examines this man’s life with profound empathy.

Bleak certainly,but also curiously uplifting,this is a novel for all seasons.

THIS DARK ROAD TO MERCY by Wiley Cash (yes that is his name),is a second thriller from this excellent writer.

Easter and her younger sister Ruby are kidnapped by their estranged father Wade.Slowly we discover what the father has done,where they are going and why he is running.

Most of the story is told through the eyes of Easter; shades of TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD are evident and none the worse for that. Lots of tension and bewilderment of the children deeply felt. Great stuff.

NATCHEZ BURNING by Greg Iles is MISSISSIPPI BURNING all over again,but forty years later. Present  day lawyer Penn has to confront his doctor father’s past and decide whether he was or is a killer.

Violence and corruption are central to this convoluted and overlong plot but some will persevere because the story is powerful and deserves repetition. A good editor would have helped .

Finally HEARTLAND by Jenny Pattrick.

This is her tenth publication and one of her best after the top selling THE DENNISTON ROSE.

Donny gets out of prison and returns to Manawa,near Ohakune. Like so many of the other characters in this charming and hilarious novel,Donny is quirky and unpredictable.

The past begins to catch up on him,mad sisters almost take over his life, a former girlfriend disappears,and all the time Mount Ruapehu observes the shenanigans of this Kiwi  hill-billy community.

Entertaining and page turning, it would not take much to turn into a film or a tv programme to give us another chance to see ourselves as others see us.