Synopses & Reviews
With his 1959 novella The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner, Alan Sillitoe brought a poetic new voice to working-class England. Certainly no stranger to the harsh realities of blue-collar life himself, Sillitoe was born one of five children to a poor Nottingham factory family. He left school at age fourteen to find work in the very factories from which his father found himself unemployed, and began his writing career during a stint in the Royal Air Force. With the publication of Saturday Night Sunday Morning in 1958 and the subsequent arrival of The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner a year later, Sillitoe quickly established himself as a standout in Englands embittered yet immensely talented Angry Young Men school of writers, which included, among others, Kingsley Amis and John Osborne. However, like Amis, Sillitoe moved beyond the anger of his youth and compiled an impressively diverse array of work. New and Collected Stories brings together more than forty pieces of short fiction, encompassing Sillitoes entire career, and includes several previously unpublished stories. It is an essential and comprehensive collection from an often-overlooked gem in the canon of modern fiction and an abiding literary voice for working-class Britain.
"What makes Sillitoe's writing crackle with life is the utter lack of pretense and sentimentality. This isn't a writer out to dazzle the reader with literary parlor tricks or stylistic pyrotechnics. Rather, Sillitoe uses the vernacular of the working class to express universal ideas of internal dislocation and bewilderment. It's as if Dostoyevsky's longing for connection was spliced with Hemingway's economy of language. For readers who have gorged themselves on the latest trends in short stories, it's time to read the work of a master of the form." Gerry Donaghy, Powells.com
(read the entire Powells.com review