Sweetness and Tenderness on the Highway, From Ralph Mcallister

Ralph Mcallister writes: Readers will remember that THE SWEETNESS OF WATER by Nathan Harris ,an epic first novel from a  thirty year old phenomenon,was my Book of the Year.

What readers  may not know is that it had fierce competition from other brilliant lengthy contenders.

TENDERNESS by Alison MacLeod is for all those interested in D H Lawrence, Frieda, his tempestuous German wife, Jacqueline Kennedy, J Edgar Hoover (despised closet first director of the FBI) and Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

Skilfully weaving the dying Lawrence’s memories of the 1920’s post war Europe and Jackie Kennedy’s support of the efforts to gain publication of his scandalous class love story,the book is totally fascinating.

It concludes with the infamous trial of Allen Lane and Penguin Books for daring to believe that ordinary people should have the right to make up their own minds .

Memorable prosecution argument in 1960 ,

“Members of the jury,would you want your servants to read this foul….”

Incidentally Lady Chatterley’s Lover was originally going to be called TENDERNESS.

‘Don’t read.’

A ‘Don’t Read’ and a good series of thrillers

THE JUDGES’S LIST is the first John Grisham I have read in many years.

It will be the last.

A good series of thrillers

If you want a good series of thrillers, try Abir Muhkerjee whose fifth ,THE SHADOWS OF MAN has just reached the shelves.

Englishman Wyndham and his sergeant Samir solve another crime in 1920’s India with their usual acumen and dry humour.

An extraordinary first novel

ON EARTH WE’RE BRIEFLY GORGEOUS by Ocean Vuong is not only a wonderful title but an extraordinary first novel by a young Vietnamese poet.

Exquisite exploration of language in a letter to his mum ,who is illiterate ,make for poignant reading as he explores his gay identity in scenes of touching tenderness.

The Lincoln Highway

Finally I take full responsibility for what could have been my Book the Year but wasn’t.

THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY by Amor Towles,author of A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW,at least has become a bestseller and deserves your serious attention.

Four young men Emmett,Billy,Duchess and Woolly set out  in 1950’s America ,on a road trip to California.

Trouble is they keep being delayed,frustrated and going in the wrong direction.

Desperately funny,touching and crammed with evil dudes and kind women ,this is modern Kerouac and will make you cry as these young men become your friends.

A shimmering experience which you don’t want to end ,even after 500 pages of magic.


Really interesting that “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” was originally titled “Tenderness”. Detractors take note!

Loved your comment on the Grisham book!


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