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The Ripening Time [Kindle Edition]

Catherine MacLeod , Alistair Mair
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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  • Length: 236 pages (estimated)
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Book Description

The Ripening Time - revised and adapted by Catherine MacLeod from the original novel by Alistair Mair, first published by William Heinemann in 1970. Released in paperback as The Tomato Man, 1972.

'Alistair Mair's novel examines the conflicts of parent-child, husband-wife relationships in all their hypocrisy, durability and underlying violence. He has made a magnetically readable novel, touching and frightening by turns, with all the authentic and baffling twists of human behaviour.'


Vintage Editorial Reviews of The Ripening Time, 1970 - 1972:
'...a tenacious piece of realism...' ~ The Sunday Times
"Strong and subtle characterisation ... admirable authenticity." ~ Sunday Telegraph
"Since the author worked as a doctor in Scotland he must know his own folk, but it comes as a shock to sheltered English readers." ~ Observer
'As an observer he is first rate ... His characters too are splendidly defined...' ~ The Illustrated London News


Glasgow, 1960. A time of bright new beginnings ...

The Gorbals tenements are being demolished and gleaming new estates are carving their way through the green fields that surround the city.

Tom, raised in a Glasgow tenement, is a sheltered, self-contained lad who drifts through life while his widowed mother worries about his inability to find the right girl. Then Mary from the new Easterton estate takes him in hand.

Surrounded by all the sparkling new appliances of hire-purchase matrimony, the recession begins to bite. Long hours, loneliness and cruelty lead Tom to drift off in another direction, down the garden to the safe haven of his greenhouse.

A man needs a hobby, and surely gardening never hurt a soul ...


The original hardback novel The Ripening Time and the paperback entitled The Tomato Man are out of print but can still be found in Abe books or on Amazon through quality collectors' bookshops worldwide.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 636 KB
  • Print Length: 236 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006N0LDMA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #240,031 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Second time around 9 Mar. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read this book first time round over 30 years ago and it left a very lasting impression. I was absolutely delighted to find it again after all these years in Kindle books though I noticed it had been re-written and had a co-author. Not to worry, it was even better second time around and better still, I discovered that it was based on a true story. Give it a go, it's a marvellous and well told story and you won't be disappointed. Maybe, just maybe, some discerning film maker will give it a go.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fairly fast paced, kept my interest to the end. 22 Dec. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this book after reading other reviews as my previous purchases have been a bit of a damp squib.
Found the start a bit tedious, getting to know the characters and basic story line. Unfortunately I could not engage much with main character, his, half dead, placid, laid back attitude was never really explained. ( A constant puzzle to his mother, massive contrast to his father, she blames herself) but why?
His string of girlfriends, but no one special is a bit tedious and is no surprise when he finally gets snared by his wife to be.
Without giving too much away, the writing is on the wall from an early stage as to the 'oddness' of his wife, although, saying this, there are quite a lot of unexpected events in this book which are unusual and interesting.
Although I found myself rooting for him, I also felt irritated with his lacsadasical attitude to absolutely everything.
The book romps on at quite a decent speed, but, the final chapters are, for me, hurried and a lot of loose ends are left dangling.
I would still recommend this book. Unusual events, some interesting characters and you can learn a lot about greenhouses and tomatoes!
Needs tweaking to make it a far more gripping read, again all the way through I was urging the irritating man to 'grow a pair' and I dont mean tomatoes.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
The Tomato Man by Alistair Mair, in its most recent incarnation by his daughter Catherine MacLeod is a gem. The writing and the characters span three generations of MacLeods and the authors do not spare any character. They now live in my mind with an unvarnished reality as seen by a third-person narrator. They are plain, but complex, unembellished folks and well reflect working class life in Glasgow from the WWII era of Thomas MacLeod, the father, to the 1963 life of Thomas MacLeod, the son. The writing is fine, understated and elegant and captures nuances brilliantly. When Jessie "sighed and took her hand away...," Thomas the younger "felt the loss of it like a wound." The "small brass nameplate" which says "Tom Macleod...still clearly, though twenty-seven years of polishing had blurred the definition of the letters more than twenty-two years of widowhood had blurred her memory of the man whose name it had been." This enduring brass nameplate becomes a metaphor for Thomas himself as he emerges as a man to develop his own ideas, crippled relationships and, of course, his own garden. The comparison to DH Lawrence by the prior reviewer is apt. There is a fatalism and inevitability here as the characters play the roles for which they have been groomed.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good read 28 Jun. 2013
By Yvonne
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was a good story but a little depressing. It was true to life and evocotive of an age. quite sad but a happy ending
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite 17 Jun. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Exquisite: that's the one word that describes this finely remastered masterpiece. If you yearn for the immersion that every now and then an author can provide, this Sixties-based classic will not disappoint.
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