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Collected Stories Paperback – September, 1996


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 586 pages
  • Publisher: Harpercollins (September 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006493068
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006493068
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,523,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.

From Library Journal

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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