MR RAISIN’s supreme merit is his gift of evocation. At a word or phrase we are swept into the fairground and can hear the noise is of panatropes, dogs and children mingling into a raucous symphony of sound.

The tension of this book is due perhaps to the childlike “we live for the moment” attitude of the chief protagonists. The past doesn’t matter except for its direct effect on today, and tomorrow is non-existent.

There Is Another Sun is the work of a new writer with an unusually deep perception of his fellow men and a keen understanding of the forces which can drive a man outside the law. This first novel marks out a path for itself.

Sydney Morning Herald, January 17, 1948


THIS story of the boxer and the dancer and the speed-track ace is the first book of an unknown writer whose beginning is also his end.

It is the intended end of every embryo writer to achieve the expertness of the veteran. The expert novelist has no technique to teach James Raisin.

“There Is Another Sun” is a surprising first novel of the bruit and bruise of sideshows. It surprises by its steely strength of style, the tautness of its lengthened intensity and adherence to a naturalistic theme which never falls away into sentimentality.

The story plays about Racer and Maguire (Christian names unknown), an ex-champion speedway performer and a near-champion fighter. Racer, after a track injury, now rides the Wall of Death, and Maguire chases a tilt at the welter title by boxing in a booth. Into their lives (and the speedster’s bed) comes a dance hostess, Lillian.

Maguire, whose brains are in his fists, has a stubborn loyalty for the bleak and bitter Racer. Racer’s rehabilitation depends on his winning a speedway competition: his riding in it depends on his gaining money to hire a cycle.

He slugs his employer and steals his car which, abetted by the others, he sells to a none-too-particular Jew. He then disappears beyond police inquiry, his fanatical single-mindedness fixed on his winning his race.

Warmth grows between Lillian and Maguire who are left to face investigation. Gradually a detective draws from the boxer an idea of Racer’s intention. Maguire corroborates it on condition that no arrest is made until the race is run.

The highlights of the novel are two sporting contests. Raisin writes them fast with vicious impact, his half-thousand and thousand word sentences producing the effect of the non-stop jargon of radio commentary.

Maguire wins his fight against the title contender and his feet are set towards success. Racer rides in the final of his contest with his friends and police on the sidelines and death astride the track.

From the time the story takes shape, the reader with a sense of sincerity seeks a solution in Racer’s death. A less expert writer might have moulded another end and reduced his story to the ordinary. But – see above – Raisin hasn’t much to learn.

This new writer is tall with literary and dramatic quality. Even if he is not another Graham Greene, his is an ability which will refuse to leave him long among the unknowns.

A glowing review from the Sydney Morning Herald SpeedwayFiction Speedway like it used to be! Home SpeedwayFiction A debut speedway novel from 1949

James Raisin’s debut novel was published by Rich & Cowan in London in 1947. Its American title, Backlash, came out two years later, published in New York by Simon & Schuster

From the flyleaf…

The novel was adapted for the screen in 1951. Click the caption above to see more about the movie.

Speedway at the Movies 4 There Is Another Sun Extract 1.pdf Read an extract…

Click the image abiove to open a short extract from There Is Another Sun in PDF format