A Radical Romance

A Radical Romance

A Memoir of Love, Grief and Consolation



'The greatest memoirs offer all the complex shades and colours that we expect in fiction. A Radical Romance is more than just some summing-up: it is a work of art'

Alison Light met the charismatic social historian, Raphael Samuel, in London in 1986. Within a year they were married. Within ten, Raphael would be dead.

Theirs was an attraction of opposites - he, twenty years her senior, from a Jewish Communist family with its roots in Russia and Eastern Europe, she from the English working class. In this chronicle of a passionate marriage, Alison Light peels back the layers of their time together, its intimacies and its estrangements. A Radical Romance is a luminous account of love and loss, and a celebration of our transformative capacity to share our lives and change our selves.

'Displays her usual sharp but sympathetic appreciation of the finest gradations of culture and class' Margaret Drabble, TLS, Books of the Year

'She writes with precision and tenderness about loss. A Radical Romance is an admirable tribute to a man, a period of rapid change in London, and an unusual marriage' Stephanie Merritt, Observer

'Extremely interesting, moving, brilliantly written, as one would expect from Alison Light' Claire Tomalin


  • There are of course memoirs that do astonish and exceed our expectations of mere self-accounting: in recent years, Helen Macdonald's H Is for Hawk; Patti Smith's various autobiographical writings; Lorna Sage's Bad Blood; and Gillian Rose's Love's Work. Alison Light's A Radical Romance now joins this select bunch of books about the self that are not simply self-regarding but truly self-exploratory

About the author

Alison Light

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