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Alan Sillitoe was born in 1928, and left school at fourteen to work in various factories until becoming an air traffic control assistant with the Ministry of Aircraft Production in 1945. He enlisted in May 1946 into the RAFVR, and spent two years on active service in Malaya as a wireless operator. At the end of 1949, he was invalided out of the service with a hundred percent disability pension.
His first stories were printed in the ‘Nottingham Weekly Guardian’. In 1958 ‘Saturday Night and Sunday Morning’ was published and ‘The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner’, which won the Hawthornden prize for Literature, came out the following year. Both these books were made into films.
Further works include ‘Key to the Door', The Ragman’s Daughter’ and ‘The General’ (both also filmed), ‘The William Posters Trilogy, A Start in Life, Raw Material, The Widower’s Son ‘- as well as eight volumes of poetry and ‘Nottinghamshire’, for which David Sillitoe took the photographs. His latest novels are ‘Her Victory, The Lost Flying Boat, Down From the Hill, Life Goes On, The Open Door, Last Loves, Leonard’s War,’ and ‘Snowstop’. He has also published his ‘Collected Stories’ and his autobiography, ‘Life Without Armour’.
Alan Sillitoe died in April 2010.
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 26 February 2009. A classic of the “angry young man” era, this is a great commentary on the social history of 1950’s Britain. This is a new edition to mark the 50th anniversary of publication.
These memorable novels show the range of the bestselling author of The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner, ';one of the best English writers' (The New York Times). British novelist Alan Sillitoe ';powerfully depicted revolt against authority by the young and working class' in his best-known works of fiction (The Washington Post). Both The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner and Saturday Night and Sunday Morning were international bestsellers and made into acclaimed films. The prolific, award-winning author wrote over fifty books, including the three novels collected in this volume: a hard-won love story, a father-son tale of love and war, and a dystopian satire. Her Victory: Finally leaving her brutish husband, Pam flees to London, where she takes refuge in a lonely, sparsely furnished room. With a twist of the wrist, she turns on the gas and resigns herself to death, only to be saved by a neighbor, Tom, a former sailor in the Merchant Navy, who carries scars of his own. Both fighting despair, these two unlikely lovers attempt to begin a new life together and find a reason to go on. ';Engrossing... Interesting and affecting.' The New York Times The Widower's Son: Leaving the coal mines for the army, Charlie Scorton never looked back. After his wife died, the career military man raised his son to be a soldier as well. Like his father, William finds a home in the army, performing heroically at Dunkirk. But soon he will be forced to answer the question his father never could: What does a soldier do when war is over? ';Earnest, tenacious... Sillitoe retains his commendable honesty.' Kirkus Reviews Travels in Nihilon: In Sillitoe's biting satirical novel, Nihilon is a country where honesty is outlawed, drunk driving is mandatory, and nihilism reigns supreme. Five researchers are sent into the midst of this chaos to compile a new guidebook about the peculiar, unexplored land and its all-powerful leader, President Nil. They arrive as tourists, but they'll soon find out it's a lot easier to enter Nihilon than it is to escape. ';Diabolically witty.' The New York Times
Three uproarious comic novels from the iconic author of such classics as The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner and Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. Alan Sillitoe has been hailed as ';the most quietly eloquent of his cohort of postwar British novelists' (Jonathan Lethem). Here are three of Sillitoe's finest and funniest, chronicling the adventures of the ';happy bastard' Michael Cullen. A Start in Life: The saga begins as Michael Cullen says goodbye to his home in Nottingham and hits the road for London. There he will make his fortuneor die trying. Life Goes On: The legend of Britain's most unlikely hero continues. After a series of outlandish criminal adventures, Cullen is a bastard no more. But he is still a rake with a refreshing lack of scruples. With the open road in front of him, the police behind him, and randy waitresses at every lay-by, Cullen is up to his old tricks once again. Moggerhanger: This madcap tale finds Cullen hired by his ex-boss, racketeer Claude Moggerhanger, to do a little ';job.' But that's just the beginning of a wild adventure featuring crazed poets; endless women; rat catchers; Labrador retrievers; and his old friend, former mercenary soldier Bill Straw. Rolling Stone called Alan Sillitoe ';the master of British verbal architecture.' These three novels also reveal him as a master of the picaresque, one of the truly unmistakable and original voices in modern fiction.
An outrageously funny novel of adventure, sex, corruption, and crime from one of the greatest British authors of the twentieth century. Michael Cullen is proud to be a bastard. His first memories are of the war, when his mother welcomed every soldier in Britain into her house, and young Michael hid beneath her bed to let the rocking of the springs lull him to sleep. By the time he's eighteen, he's got a pregnant girlfriend, and is staring down a long life of working-class respectability that simply makes him sick. So Michael says goodbye to his girlfriend and his home in Nottingham, and hits the road for London, where he will make his fortuneor die trying. From the nightclubs of Soho to the depths of London's underworld, Michael can't help but get into trouble. But whether he's chauffeuring a vicious gangster or smuggling gold bullion across the channel, he never stops having a wonderful time. Indeed, Michael is something else entirely: a happy bastard with nothing to lose. A rollicking picaresque novel by the legendary author of such classics of kitchen sink realism as The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner and Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, A Start in Life is one of the funniest British novels of the twentieth century. A Start in Life is the 1st book in the Michael Cullen Novels, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order. ';A Start in Life is, for my money, the best novel that Sillitoe has yet written.' New Statesman ';The kind of hilarious nonsense that keeps you riveted to deck-chair or arm-chair, depending on the season.' The Daily Telegraph Praise for Alan Sillitoe ';The master of British verbal architecture.' Rolling Stone Alan Sillitoe (19282010) was a British novelist, poet, essayist, and playwright, known for his honest, humorous, and acerbic accounts of working-class life. Sillitoe served four years in the Royal Air Force and lived for six years in France and Spain, before returning to England. His first novel, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, was published in 1958 and was followed by a collection of short stories, The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner, which won the Hawthornden Prize for Literature. With over fifty volumes to his name, Sillitoe was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1997.
A laugh-out-loud adventure novel starring bestselling author Alan Sillitoe's most outrageous character: the happy bastard Michael Cullen. For most of his life, Michael Cullen was a twenty-two-carat no-good bastard, and he was quite proud of it. But after a series of outlandish criminal adventures revealed the true identity of his father, Michael made the mistake of introducing him to dear old ma. His parents wed, and Michael was a bastard no more. But he was still a rake, with a devilish sense of humor and a refreshing lack of scruples. After a disastrous escapade smuggling gold for the ruthless gangster Claude Moggerhanger, Michael resolves to go straight. But when he learns his father is writing Lord Moggerhanger's memoirs, he falls into old habits, if only for a chance to get behind the wheel of the gangster's Rolls Royce. With the open road in front of him, the police behind him, and randy waitresses at every lay-by, Michael will be a happy bastard once again. From the bestselling author of The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner, Life Goes On continues the legend of one of Britain's most unlikely heroes, which began in the classic picaresque A Start in Life. Whether chasing love, money, sex, or even peace and quiet, there is nothing Michael Cullen can't make into an adventure. Life Goes On is the 2nd book in the Michael Cullen Novels, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.
This fusion of novel and memoir from a bestselling British author chronicles the destructive effects of WWI on two working-class families in Nottingham. An advocate for ordinary people, Alan Sillitoe combines family memoir with exhaustive research on military records, and fuses them with artistic speculation in this inventive and political historical novel. Central to the story are the author's grandfather, the blacksmith Ernest Burton, and his uncle Edgar, a World War I deserter. The launching point for this narrative family album is a legless match-seller from Sillitoe's childhood who ';walked' on the streets of Nottingham with his hands. When the young Sillitoe asked his family about the reasons behind this man's deformity, he heard a series of different accounts: His mother said it was a train accident, his father claimed it was an explosion during the Battle of the Somme, his grandmother was convinced it was a birth defect, and his grandfather declared it was a way of dodging work. Thus Sillitoe sets the tone for a tale in which ';anything which is not scientific or mathematical thought is colored by the human imagination and feeble opinion.' In order to rediscover the fictional truth behind his own spirit, Sillitoe then delves into his heritage. He paints a telling portrait of his maternal grandfather, a blacksmith who hated dogs, despised the people who loved him, and was blinded in one eye by a shred of steel. Separated from society by his illiteracy, and both feared and respected for his instinctual cunning, Ernest was a tyrant to his wife and eight children, a hardworking provider, and a talented craftsman. On his father's side of the family, Sillitoe explores the life of his uncle Edgar, ';the darling of the family' who enlisted in the British army when the Great War began in 1914. However, when the young man discovered that his service consisted of dysentery, haircuts, and taking orders, he ';sensibly' deserts. To avoid the military police, he leaves Nottingham and bicycles furiously on the back roads to his sister's house in Hinkley, but is caught a few days later in a pub and sent back to his battalion. A persistent man, Edgar deserts a second time and hides out in the forest, but again he is captured and sent just in time to join the Sherwood Foresters on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Raw Material spans a century of family history and legends, interweaving personal memories with collected facts and hearsay. The ';kitchen-sink realism' Sillitoe is known for takes on a more philosophical and transparent approach in this innovative self-portrait that explores the base matter and inspirations of the esteemed British novelist's life work.
A journey into nineteenth-century travel guides to the UK, Europe, and Soviet Union as researched and written by one of England's most distinguished authors. In this quirky and illuminating social history, bestselling British author Alan Sillitoe culls fascinating details from Victorian-era guidebooks and travelogues in order to recount the pleasures, dangers, traps, and delights of travel in the century leading up to World War I. For instance, in Switzerland, an English officer once fell into a bears' den and was ';torn in pieces.' In Paris, the outdoor seating at cafes was in ';unpleasant proximity to the gutters.' In Germany and the Rhine, the denominations marked on coins did not necessarily indicate their value. And in Northern Italy, a traveler could look forward to a paradise of citron and myrtle, palms and cyclamen. For the armchair traveler journeying into a bygone era, Sillitoe begins with the essential practicalities relevant to any tourist: the price of passports and visas, how best to clear customs, and how many bags to pack. He includes timeless advice, such as: Board a boat on an empty stomach if you are prone to seasickness, and always break in your boots before embarking on a trip. Anachronistic recommendations abound as well: It is best to leave your servant at home, carry your milk with you when traveling to small Italian villages, and not pay children and ';donkey women' for flowers. From convalescent hotels in the South of France to malaria-ridden marshes between Rome and Naples, and from the chaos of Sicily and southern Italy to the dazzling bullfights and rampant thieves of sunny Spain, Sillitoe guides readers through the minutiae of the Mediterranean with wit and historical insight. Then he takes an anecdote-filled road east into Greece, Egypt, the Holy Lands, Turkey, and Russia. Of course, the Grand Tour would not be complete without a thorough account of his home turf of England, with her idiosyncratic hamlets, smoke-filled skies, and working-class townsfolk in high-buckled shoes. At once a fascinating history of travel books from 1815 to 1914 and an entertaining ode to wanderlust, Leading the Blind brings to life the absurd and profound wonders of Victorian globetrotting. With simple but captivating prose, Sillitoe also shows how the way we view foreign lands can reveal a lot about what is happening at home.
A candid and surprising memoir of the early life of one of England's most acclaimed and enduring post-WWII writers. Born in 1928 into a poverty-stricken family in working-class Nottingham, bestselling British novelist Alan Sillitoe's childhood was marked by his father's unpredictable and violent rage, as well as a near-certain condemnation to a life of labor on an assembly line. His family relocated frequently to avoid rent collectors, trading in one bug-infested hovel for another. Though intelligent and curious, the young author-to-be failed his grammar school entrance exams, and it seemed he was destined for work in a factory. The onset of Sillitoe's teenage years, however, coincided with the advance of Hitler into Russia, and the war offered a chance for the boy to seek out a different fate. At the age of fourteen, Sillitoe used a fake ID to enroll in the Air Training Corps and went on to join the Ministry of Aircraft Production as an air traffic control assistant. He dreamed of becoming a pilot, but the war ended just after he qualified for training and he was instead shipped off to the Malayan jungle during the Communist insurgency as a radio operator for the Royal Air Force (RAF). After two years of living from one wireless watch to the nexttaking in bearings and atmospherics though the radio, and exploring dangerous and primal landscapes by footSillitoe finally returned to a prospectless postwar England and was diagnosed with tuberculosis. But this curse soon became a blessing: In the RAF hospital, Sillitoe began to readeverything from Kant to Descartes to Bernard Shawand he decided to become a writer. Already a veteran on an RAF disability pension at the age of twenty-one, Sillitoe began writing full-time, neither his physical challenges nor his numerous rejections from publishers deterring him in the least. He joined the Nottingham Writers' Club, and his short stories began to achieve some minor local success. Soon after, a chance meeting with the American poet Ruth Fainlight led to full-blown love, and the two set off for France eager to live in a bucolic setting where they could dedicate all of their time to writing. Circumstance and favorable exchange rates then led the couple to Spain where Sillitoe continued his literary pursuits, met many artists and writers, had run-ins with gypsies, and even underwent police interrogations. Four unpublished novels laterand after nearly a decade of honing his craftSillitoe finally found staggering success in his working-class novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and his collection of short stories The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner. Written with Sillitoe's signature simplicity, this in-depth autobiography not only gives insight into the formative years and mental maturation of one of Britain's most influential writers, but also tells a great story of an underprivileged man who, with perseverance, made the most of his particular fate.
Over forty short stories spanning the career of England's most acclaimed postwar writerincluding the iconic ';The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner.' This comprehensive collection of short fiction from bestselling British author Alan Sillitoe mixes aggression with humor, and common working-class men with extraordinary twists of fate. It compiles works selected from the master storyteller's bestselling books, including The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner; The Ragman's Daughter; Guzman, Go Home; Men, Women and Children; and The Second Chance. Several previously unpublished works are also included. In the title story from The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runnerwhich was adapted for film in 1962a seventeen-year-old inmate in a juvenile detention center must make a difficult life choice. Should he strive to win the national long-distance running competition as everyone is counting on him to do, or should he refuse to vindicate the very system and society that has locked him up? The titular piece from The Ragman's Daughter is a lively and poignant narrative about an eighteen-year-old thief named Tony and his new girlfriend, Doris, the seventeen-year-old daughter of a well-to-do scrap dealer. The couple embarks on a wild robbery spree, but after a raid on a shoe shop goes absurdly wrong, Tony ends up behind bars and Doris remains freebut suffers a dark destiny. A standout tale from Guzman, Go Home, ';Revenge' details the dangerously tumultuous marriage between factory foreman Richard and his ornery wife, Caroline. ';Mimic,' from the previously collected Men, Women and Children, takes place in the mind of a nameless hero who is locked away in an asyluma man who uses the art of mimicry to escape reality and avoid being himself. And in ';No Name in the Street,' from The Second Chance, an ex-miner who ekes out a living collecting social security and hunting for golf balls, moves in with a woman who has indoor plumbingbut his dog refuses to go along with the plan. This essential collection reveals the power and timelessness of Sillitoe's short fiction. Called ';a master of the short story' by the Times, the author portrays the complex ethos and pathos of working-class life.
A sweeping collection of poetry from one of Great Britain's most celebrated postwar writers. Bestselling British novelist Alan Sillitoe delves into the profound and personal world of poetry in this collection of two hundred poems written between 1950 and 1990. Culled from seven previously published volumes of verseand including twenty-one newly collected worksSillitoe employs wit, humor, aggression, and longing to take readers into the depths of his perceptions and philosophical musings. The compilation begins with Sillitoe's early poems, which first appeared in The Rats and Other Poems (1960) while the writer was at work on his acclaimed novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. In ';Shadow' a castaway meets a gentleman whom he recognizes as his own death. Meanwhile, a temperate climate renders death powerless in ';Poem Written in Majorca.' And in ';Excerpts from ';The Rats',' themes of mental exile, isolation, and the proliferation of corruption echo the sentiments of Arthur Seaton, the hero of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. Proceeding chronologically, the next section includes works from A Falling Out of Love and Other Poems (1964). Here, the reader encounters a haunting confrontation with suicide in ';Poem Left by a Dead Man,' a meditation on the elemental yet incomparable suffering of a poet in ';Storm,' and a description of metaphysical chores in ';Housewife.' Selections from Love in the Environs of Voronezh and Other Poems (1968) and Storm and Other Poems (1974) follow, including such works as ';Baby' and ';Smile,' which ponder questions of inevitability and impossibility in everyday life. Unexpected perspectives on the Devil appear in the poems from Snow on the North Side of Lucifer (1979). Sun Before Departure (19741982) features the surreal and atmospheric ';Horse on Wenlock Edge.' And the selections from Tides and Stone Walls (1986), including the koanlike ';Receding Tide,' were inspired by a series of sea landscapes by photographer Victor Bowley. In the final section, New Poems (19861990), Sillitoe contemplates hope in the aftermath of war in ';Hiroshima,' and deciphers an uncanny Morse code message in ';Noah's Arc.' At once dark and luminous, Collected Poems offers both a departure from and insight into the ';kitchen sink realism' Sillitoe is famous for. These pages impart an intimate look into the heart and mind of one of England's most celebrated authors, and convey a profound vision of lifeone in which death is close, but laughter is never far away.
This memoir and literary travelogue from one of the UK's most esteemed novelists offers rare insight into Cold Warera Russia. In 1967, seeking an escape from his writing life, bestselling British novelist Alan Sillitoe embarks on a road trip from England to Russia via Harwich and Finland in his sturdy Peugeot. During his teens, the author had a cartographic fascination with the Battle of Stalingrad, and decades later he is still armed with intricate maps of the country based on British military intelligence, including one of the road from Leningrad to Moscow to Kiev, which he drew himself. Also in tow are a prismatic compass, binoculars, and a shortwave radio receiver. However, despite being so well prepared, Sillitoe embarks with naivete about the political precariousness of an Englishman in the eyes of the Soviet regime. After passing through the endless days of a Scandinavian summer and a prolonged stop at a border control checkpointwith his maps hidden in a secret compartment of the carSillitoe arrives in Leningrad. There, he meets George Andjaparidze, a worldly and candid English student who has been assigned by the Writers' Union to serve as the author's guide and keep him out of trouble. Though Sillitoe would rather continue his journey solo, Andjaparidze grows on him, and they begin what will become a lasting friendship. As soon as the duo leaves Leningrad, adventures and misadventures ensue. En route to Moscow, Sillitoe and Andjaparidze end up racing a pack of middle-age men in German sports cars partaking in a Berlin-to-Moscow rally. Sillitoe and Andjaparidze's time in the capital is equally fast-paced, consisting of late nights fueled by vodka, impounded rubles, caviar breakfasts, erudite parties, and a pat on the back from a traffic cop for writing about the working class. A winding drive across western Russia and into Yugoslavia follows, replete with rebellious literature students, a speech on freedom, a visit to Tolstoy's estate, accusations of espionage, and a near-fatal run-in with a brigade of Red Army tanks. At last the writer and guide reach their destination: Kursk, that fateful place where a Soviet victory in 1943 turned back the Nazi tide. But the story continues long after the road trip ends. Back in England, Andjaparidze visits Sillitoe and the two are caught up in a controversy surrounding the defection of the Soviet writer Anatoly Kuznetsov. Written from the perspective of another trip to Russia forty years later (Sillitoe was invited in 2005 by the British Council to return to Moscow), this travelogue provides a rare and intimate look at the country's history, a compassionate understanding of its troubled ideology, and a frank portrayal of its undeniable lure.
A post-WWII adventure from the bestselling author of The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner. A top-secret mission sends a crew of Royal Air Force veterans from South Africa to the subarctic Kerguelen Islands in this suspense-packed tale of lawlessness, piracy, obsession, and greed. At the helm of the Aldebaran, a huge flying boat, sits the monomaniacal Captain Bennett, a man hell-bent on unearthing a treasure buried by the Germans in the final days of World War II. And on the seaplane's radio is the young wireless operator Adcock, a man who listens to everything and tries to make sense of it all. The rest of the ex-soldiers on board seek either riches or adventurebut all are fleeing the frustrations and disappointments of their postwar lives. As the voyage takes dangerous turns toward natural and manmade threats, it becomes clear that Captain Bennett is keeping secrets and the Aldebaran is not alone on her quest. Adcock's morals are soon put to the test, machine guns are mounted on the flying boat's turrets, and the thirst for gold may cost the crew their lives. Classic kitchen sink realism meets high-flying adventure in this British thriller that goes beyond action and into the depths of human values and motivations in a war-damaged world. Drawing upon Alan Sillitoe's own wartime experiences as a wireless operator, The Lost Flying Boat is full of aerial heroics, coded messages, shattered dreams, and the will to persevere.
A gripping thriller set among Britain's snowy peaks from the bestselling author of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. Suspense, secrets, conspiracy, and entrapment come to a head in this dark allegory of the modern postwar condition. Snowbound in the remote White Cavalier Hotel in the mountains of England's Lake District, a motley mix of strangers think they have found refuge, but instead discover a violent drama that is ready to explode. Among the mysterious guests imprisoned by the blizzard are a murderous BMW driver, a female hitchhiker, an anxious bookseller-forger, illicit lovers, aging Hells Angels bikers, a hostage of marriage, a loathsome father and son, and an IRA terrorist with a bomb-laden van. Everyone has brought along their personal baggage of guilt for crimes they have committed against society, and as they uncover one another's secrets and unwind a conspiracy, they must also face their own selves. Taking kitchen sink realism into the depths of winter and the infernal mind of a terrorist, acclaimed British novelist and ';angry young man' Alan Sillitoe creates a poignant existential investigation with a chilling twist.
From one of Britain's leading writers comes a biting satire about a country founded on Nihilism and a government gone mad Nihilon is a country where honesty is outlawed, drunk driving is mandatory, and nihilism reigns supreme. Five researchers are sent into the midst of this chaos to compile a new guidebook about the peculiar, unexplored land and its all-powerful leader, President Nil. Adam, Benjamin, Jaquiline, Edgar, and Richard attempt to gather informationbut find themselves swept up by a nation turned upside down. As they navigate their way to the capital through artificial mist created by President Nil to disorient his people, the writers are stopped by ordinary citizens whom they quickly discover cannot be trusted. Adam accidentally starts a ground war, Benjamin is forced to buy a car, and Jaquiline discovers that robbery is not only legal, but encouraged. The researchers, who arrived as tourists, will find that although it is easy to enter Nihilon, it is much, much harder to escape. Alan Sillitoe, the bestselling author of The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner, crosses into uncharted territory in this comic dystopia that is as smart as it is engrossing.
Raised by a career soldier, a working class Englishman tries to find his placeboth in and out of uniformin this compelling novel of love and war Charlie Scorton sees his best friend killed beside him in the mine, and resolves to join the army. His father throws him out for deserting the coal miner's life, but Charlie never looks back. For twenty-four years, he roams the empire, a king's soldier who is finally left with no choice but to come home. He has a child, his wife dies, and the old soldier dedicates himself to raising his boy. Charlie trains his son, William, to be an artilleryman from birth. William finds a home in the army, the sort he has always longed for, and makes his mark during World War II, performing heroically during the retreat at Dunkirk, risking his life to save thousands. But soon, he will be forced to answer the question his father never could: What does a soldier do when war is over? Alan Sillitoe, the bestselling author of The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner, examines where the fight ends and life begins for a soldier in this story of love and war, and the blurred lines between them.
A story of love and romance between two lost people in 1950s Britain, from the author of The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner Every morning Pam decides to leave George. Somehow she never quite gets around to it. She's flirted with suicide too, but she doesn't see the point. A woman would have to be mad to kill herself for the sake of George. He's a brute, vain and selfish, with a cruel sense of humor and absolutely no regard for his wife. Someday she will leave him: Why not today? Pam flees to London, where she takes refuge in a lonely, sparsely furnished room. With a twist of her wrist, she turns on the gas and resigns herself to death, only to be rescued by a neighbor. Tom, a former sailor in the Merchant Navy who has just come into a surprise inheritance, is carrying scars of his own. Bound by despair, these two unlikely lovers begin a new life, and together they will find a reason to live This lonely middle-aged couple finds victory in living, searching for love and happiness, and overcoming their pasts. In its portrayal of women, Her Victory has been compared to the novels of Doris Lessing and Margaret Drabble, and it is award-winning author Alan Sillitoe at his very best.
A portrait of individual and communal struggles to maintain authenticity and revolutionary fervor in 1960s England from award-winning, bestselling author Alan Sillitoe The final installment of the William Posters Trilogy revolves around the plights and foibles of the Handley family commune, which set up camp at the home of the wealthy Myra Bassingfield. There, painter Albert Handley is pursuing a whirlwind existence of art, sex, and chaotic domestic life. Of his seven children, four are giving him particular grief. His eldest son, Cuthbert, has been kicked out of theological college; his eldest daughter, Mandy, is pregnant by her unstable husband; and two of his younger sons, Richard and Adam, are pillaging army manuals for subversive and revolutionary ends. To top it all off, Myra's lover, Frank Dawley, has returned from gunrunning in Algeriaand brought along his wife and two kids from Nottingham to live in the Buckinghamshire kibbutz. Collective cohabitation soon reveals its downfalls. And when a young Spanish anarchist arrives with assassination on her mind, her trunk full of notebooks may condemn Frank for a sin committed in the African desert. As the community hangs by a thread, the very notion of revolution comes under scrutiny, begging the question: Can the fire of life burn, even when its flame is no longer in sight? This ebook features an illustrated biography of Alan Sillitoe including rare images from the author's estate.
The second novel in award-winning, bestselling author Alan Sillitoe's William Posters Trilogyis an existential investigation of protest and revolution in 1960s North Africa and England Jewish dilettante Myra Bassingfield returns to England from Gibraltar with her four-week-old son. Frank Dawley, the child's father and the anarchist antihero of The Death of William Posters, has disappeared into the African desert, where he is fighting with the FLN (Front de Liberation Nationale) for Algerian independence against French troops. Greeting Myra quayside as she disembarks from the ship is Frank's friend, Albert Handley, an idealistic painter living in a chaotic house in Linconshire with seven kids, a bulldog, six cats, and two au pair girls. Albert's brother, John, is determined to break from the family and he sets off for Algeria to track Frank downbut not before burning the Handley house to the ground. The Handley brood must then move in with Myra in Buckinghamshire, and by the time Frank finally shows up, they have formed a domestic cell of protest that may just plant the seeds of a new English revolution. From ramshackle life in a commune to undercover gunrunning, this is Alan Sillitoe, author of The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner, at his humorous and literary best. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Alan Sillitoe including rare images from the author's estate.
A sociopolitical misadventure from the award-winning, bestselling author of The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner Frank Dawley is a working-class escapee. After twelve years of spiritual nullification at a factory in Nottingham, five years in an alienating marriage, and two burdensome kids, Frank is finally free. He has quit his job, burned his possessions, and sold his car, and is hitching a ride to wherever the road will take him. Haunting Frank's physical and existential travels is a ubiquitous inscription painted on nearly every street corner in England: BILL POSTERS WILL BE PROSECUTED. Who is this Bill Posters, who is so relentlessly hounded by the authorities? To Frank, Billor Williambecomes a symbol of the servile proletariat, the ';put-upon dreg' whose hollow ideologies have bombarded Frank throughout his entire life. As an act of resistance, Frank becomes determined to rejecteven to killthe William Posters that lives inside of him. Ribald misadventures ensue as Frank finds his way from England to Spain to Morocco to Algeriaand into the beds of several married women. En route, he meets a revolutionary American who ends up engaging him in a high-stakes gunrunning mission. The first volume in an epic trilogy, The Death of William Posters sends Frank headfirst into the truth of what he's been running away from all along. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Alan Sillitoe including rare images from the author's estate.
An existential saga of working-class life in a British factory town and military service in the torrid jungles of the Far East from award-winning, bestselling author Alan SillitoeKey to the Door turns away from the boisterous pursuits of Arthur Seaton made infamous in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, and focuses instead on the quieter rebellions of his older brother, Brian. Brian's childhood and adolescence in the grimy streets of Nottingham are shaped by the Depression-era struggles of his family, the life and culture of the factory town, and the love and bullying of his iron-willed grandfather and erratic father. When Brian reaches adulthood, he frequents the local pubs, works hard at a cardboard factory, and runs into a sticky situation with a woman named Pauline that obliges him to marry her. Soon though, he is conscripted for the postwar occupation of Malaya, and his true colors begin to show. Brian declares that he only wears his uniform to collect his paycheck; he shows contempt for the soldiers who obey the rules; he pursues a relationship with an exotic Chinese dancer; and he sends poetry into the jungle in Morse code. At once a vivid family portrait and a study of ';the desolate, companionless void of protest' prevalent in postwar England, Key to the Door establishes the Seaton Novels as a broad and sweeping saga of twentieth-century British life, set against the backdrop of Nottingham. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Alan Sillitoe including rare images from the author's estate.
Alan Sillitoe was an integral part of the Angry Young Men movement of the fifties that focused on its authentic depiction of real working class people. This book is true to their ideals in its raw sharp writing of the story of a young man framed by his brutal experience in the army and as a factory worker. Fuelled by a bleak aggressive outlook on life the book centres around a boozy, philandering weekend which is graphically captured by Sillitoe's clever prose and Linus Roache's strong reading.
From the author of `Saturday Night and Sunday Morning' come stories of hardship and hope in post-war Britain. The title story in this classic collection tells of Smith, a defiant young rebel, inhabiting the no-man's land of institutionalised Borstal. As his steady jog-trot rhythm transports him over an unrelenting, frost-bitten earth, he wonders why, for whom and for what he is running. A groundbreaking work, `The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner' captured the grim isolation of the working class in the English Midlands when it was first published in 1960s. But Sillitoe's depiction of petty crime and deep-seated anger in industrial and desperate cities remains as potent today as it was almost half a century ago.
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 26 February 2009. A classic of the “angry young man” era, this is a great commentary on the social history of 1950’s Britain. This is a new edition to mark the 50th anniversary of publication.
A wonderful historical novel from one of our best loved and most prolific writers As a young man Ernest Burton was a bold and reckless journeyman blacksmith, seducing all young girls he comes across. We watch him grow to become a master Blacksmith, and a tyrannical father of eight who refuses even to try to remain faithful to the woman he married and who reigns over his young family with an iron fist, instilling in his sons and daughters a mixture of fear and hatred of him. Burton is an extraordinary fictional creation - a bully who shows no mercy in his relentless terrorism of his sons, he can also be effortlessly charming, with a magnetic attraction that effects all he meets. Written in the sparse, plain language that Sillitoe has made his own, A Man of His Time is a mesmerising portrait of an extraordinary individual, aware that he is, in many ways, the last of a dying breed. It's a rich, absorbing, wonderfully readable novel that covers decades and crosses generations, depicting with singular brilliance an England poised on the brink of change.
The sequel to `Saturday Night and Sunday Morning'. `Birthday' is the sequel to Alan Sillitoe's classic novel of the 1950s, `Saturday Night and Sunday Morning'. Four decades on from the novel which was at the forefront of the new wave of British literature, we rediscover the Seaton brothers: older, certainly; wiser - possibly not. Arthur and Brian Seaton, one with an ailing wife, one with an emotional knapsack of failure and success, are on their way to Jenny's seventieth birthday party. Jenny and Brian had years ago experimented with sex - semi-clothed, stealthy, with the bonus of fear. Arthur, of course, had cut a winning swathe through the married and unmarried women of Nottinghamshire. Life has changed. But there is still pleasure; and still pain. Alan Sillitoe is undoubtedly one of the greatest English writers of our time, and, indeed, one of the most influential.
A superb creation of love, life and class in the post-war world. When Herbert Thurgarton-Strang was seven, his parents - as loving, as doting as any parents of their generation - took him away from India and left him in a boarding school in England which had everything to recommend it except pity. Through the stifling, alarming years which follow, Herbert is held together by the notion of revenge on those loving parents, and by the knowledge that, over there, a new world beckons. And when he's seventeen, he steals away from school, steals away from Herbert, becomes a different boy; becomes, in Nottingham, Bert the lathe-worker, Bert the womaniser, Bert the soldier, Bert the sometime bruiser. Plunged into the louche life, he bobs like a cork, but eventually Bert/Herbert does lay his demons to rest.