This is a collection of short stories. Ranging from Alan Sillitoe's earliest classic to his most recent fiction, these stories are chosen to reflect the timelessness of his storytelling. It is published to coincide with his biography "Life Without Armour".
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Taken individually, the stories in this collection are searing and dead-on. Taken collectively, they render Sillitoe's pessimism and vitriol hard to take. Whether his focus is on Britain's upper or lower classes, Sillitoe peoples his tales with bitter, streetwise, disillusioned souls who are scrappy enough to go on fighting their daily battles but too drained to realize their dreams. The young speaker of Sillitoe's most famous story, "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner," voices one of the collection's leitmotifs when he describes the local gentry as being "dead": though he resents the rich, the only way this juvenile delinquent knows how to succeed as an adult is as a thief. In Sillitoe's world, education offers no redemption: the main character in "Mr. Raynor the School Teacher" is a voyeur who engages in near-masturbatory fantasies while he lectures before a class. When Raynor learns that a girl he used to ogle was brutally murdered by her boyfriend, he never realizes that his own selfish desires and sadistic treatment of his students may have set the stage for her death. Characters often engage in fantasies, as in "The Chiker," a portrait of another Peeping Tom. Perhaps due to the rigidity of England's class structure and his own apathy, the character is incapable of changing his life: he is as trapped as his pet canary. Marriage, as portrayed in "The Magic Box" and "Fishing Boat Picture," forms another bar of the cage: in the former, infidelity and bastard children notwithstanding, a couple inexplicably remain together; in the latter, a wife's dissatisfaction with her husband's lack of affection inadvertently leads to her own emotional isolation and death. Only the strongest-hearted or most devoted fans should read all the way through. Others should dip in whenever they feel like reading the blues.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Beginning with Sillitoe's most famous work, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, this volume includes 38 stories from five earlier collections. Most are skillful variations on the theme of isolation in grim industrial cities of the English Midlands. Here financial need reflects poverty of spirit, disaffection inspires petty crime, deep-seated anger erupts in family violence, and brute energy leads on to defiance of all authority. A few stories (e.g., "The Other John Peel") display the evolution of workers to bourgeoisie, and the superbly ironic "The Second Chance" captures idioms and idiosyncrasies of the English gentry. Sillitoe's best stories mix wry humor with pathos, and several show characters running "parallel with the frontiers of madness" while trying to maintain "a successful imitation of a sane man." These disquieting tales remain vibrant and sharply focused even as the energies of his characters are sadly dissipated. Recommended.?Albert E. Wilhelm, Tennessee Technological Univ., Cookeville
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Flamingo, 1995. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. Ex Library Book with usual stamps and stickers. Tan to the page edges. Good condition is defined as: a copy that has been read but remains in clean condition. All of the pages are intact and the cover is intact and the spine may show signs of wear. The book may have minor markings which are not specifically mentioned. Most items will be dispatched the same or the next working day. Bookseller Inventory # mon0007200998
Book Description Flamingo. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. Ex-Library Book - will contain Library Markings. Light shelf wear and minimal interior marks. Bookseller Inventory # G0002252228I3N10
Book Description Flamingo, 1995. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. Dust Jacket Included. Sent within 24 hours. Expedited UK delivery available. Ex Library. Bookseller Inventory # BBI2249512
Book Description Flamingo, London, 1995. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. Bookseller Inventory # 006382
Book Description Flamingo, London, 1995. First Edition. First Edition. First edition, with "Published by Flamingo 1995" and full number line on the copyright page. A review copy with sticker on the front panel of the dj stating "Advance Copy" which advertises a "HarperCollins World Trade Paperback Original". This British hardcover is uncommon, due to a small first printing - possibly because Flamingo may have decided to skip the hardcover issue of this 586-page story collection. Why else would HarperCollins use a hardcover as an ARC for a paperback? 8vo blue boards. An unusually nice copy of this large book. (Because of its weight, this book will require extra postage if shipped out of the United States). Some minor toning to pages else very fine in very fine unclipped dj. Bookseller Inventory # 26936
Book Description Flamingo, London, 1995. Hardcover. Book Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: VG. 586 pages in very good condition; edges a little yellowed. Green endpapers. Blue hardcovers with gilt titles on the spine. Corners not bumped. Blue DJ with white titles. Very light wear on corners and edges. Scarce in hardcover. Not peice clipped. NEAR FINE/VG. Bookseller Inventory # 211640