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The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner (Vintage International) Paperback – March 2, 2010
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“Sillitoe offers an authentic and vivacious portrait. . . . A sheer delight.”—Saturday Review
“A beautiful piece of work.”—The Guardian
“Brilliant.”—The New Yorker
“Mr. Sillitoe is a born writer, who knows his milieu and describes it with vivid, loving precision.” —Daily Telegraph
“There are few writers around who can rival Sillitoe when it comes to the complicated business of noticing things.” —Literary Review
“A master storyteller.” —The Observer
“Miles nearer the real thing than D.H. Lawrence's mystic, brooding working-men ever came.” —Sunday Express
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Top Customer Reviews
That's one of the nine stories of working class life in the 1930's in northern England, much of which is based on Alan Sillitoe's boyhood in Nottingham, England. But for the lowest class of English society, the precise location is irrelevant: "[E]very city's the same when you come to weigh it up: the same hostels full of thieves all out to snatch your last bob if you give them half the chance; the same factories full of work, if you're lucky; the same mildewed backyards and houses full of silverfish and black-clocks when you suddenly switch on the light at night."
It's a bleak and bitter existence. Still, many of the characters have a sense of honor and dignity -- only it's not the honor of the upper classes of England, or as one of them calls the nation, "the poxetten land of hope and glory". World War II is approaching, but the "war" Sillitoe's folks are more preoccupied with is the class war between the haves and the have nots, or the "In-law blokes" versus the "Out-law blokes".Read more ›
1. The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner - A novella taking up 29% of the entire book, this story has no plot but is the running commentary of the thoughts of a 17yo in an institution for juvenile delinquents as he trains for the annual sports day competition representing the institute as their long-distance runner. I'm guessing this takes place in the late 1950s, the youth contemplates on why he will always be of the criminal element, doesn't ever plan to change and is quite proud of the fact. His thoughts all have to do with the British class system and his contempt for anyone in authority or "lords and ladies". I didn't care for the youth at all as he was a petty thief with petty ideas of "sticking it to the man." That said, the story made me think of my dad who I do respect greatly and was by no means ever petty nor a criminal, but he was raised the same as this youth. My dad was born during WWII in Yorkshire and this youth used some slang making me think he came from the same region. This youth was a Teddy Boy, as was my dad though for him it was more of a fashion statement than the accompanying rebellious behaviour.Read more ›
Stilltoe's full length novel Saturday Night and Sunday morning is equally well done and worth exploring if you enjoy these stories.
The "ruling-class" [almost as a social experiment] naively attempts a long needed repair to the one remaining span [between the classes] and the protagonist is [conveniently] taken in, at first, until his pal, also nicked by the coppers, pulls him back, across the rickety bridge, and "brings him - starkly - to "his senses"...
The burning of the last bridge, is both disturbing, and poignant.
One is torn into shreds, by the by the internal conflict that this little book evokes within oneself. Who is in the right...? Who knows....
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A funny insightful take on people living miserable lives in postwar England. He's not read as much now and that's a shamePublished 21 days ago by michael kanellos
I am a runner who reads mostly non-fiction running books. Amazon recommended this based on my reading habits. Amazon has failed miserably! Read morePublished 2 months ago by Ed Zapf
There is so much foreign lingo that has no meaning for me that I found myself having no context to what was occurring that I completely lost interest.Published 6 months ago by Ben
Great book from the "Angry Young Men" phase of British literature. Reminds me a bit of the modern movie Riff Raff. Thanks for keeping it published!Published 8 months ago by Rob Woodford
This was one of my favorite short-stories in high school ... Very happy to be able to re-read it.Published 11 months ago by ELAINE-D
Don't fail to see the movie, too. It's a gem, starkly black and white, beautifully and truthfully acted.Published 19 months ago by J in New York
Found this book very confusing. I don't understand what the writer was trying to convey here.Published 19 months ago by G. Girl
I was disapppointed in this book. Because of the title I thought it would be a book about running or at least about a runner. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Christine L. Wodke