Perhaps one of the most revered works of fiction in the twentieth-century, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner is a modern classic about integrity, courage, and bucking the system. Its title story recounts the story of a reform school cross-country runner who seizes the perfect opportunity to defy the authority that governs his life. It is a pure masterpiece. From there the collection expands even further from the touching “On Saturday Afternoon” to the rollicking “The Decline and Fall and Frankie Buller.” Beloved for its lean prose, unforgettable protagonists, and real-life wisdom, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner captured the voice of a generation, and its poignant and empowering life lessons will continue to captivate and entertain readers for generations to come.
About the Author
Alan Sillitoe grew up in the slums of the industrial city of Nottingham. He began to write while in the Royal Air Force, stationed in Malaya. After the war he went to Majorca, where he became a friend of Robert Graves, who encouraged him to write Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1958). The N.Y. Herald Tribune said: "Alan Sillitoe has given us one of the better pictures of English working-class life since Arnold Bennett dealt with the Five Towns or D. H. Lawrence with Nottingham collieries." His author's fee for the manuscript rescued him and his wife, the American poet Ruth Fainlight, from poverty and enabled him to afford the balanced diet to which he attributes his recovery from tuberculosis. Saturday Night won the Author's Club Prize for the best British novel of 1958 and was made into a superb movie in 1960. His second book, The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner (1959), was awarded Britain's Hawthornden Prize for 1960 and was made into an excellent film in 1962. William Posters is Sillitoe's play on words of the British "Bill Posters Will Be Prosecuted" (U.S. version---"Post No Bills"), a sentence that has haunted him. The Death of William Posters (1965) is a novel about yet another young man who must escape from the philistinism of the social milieu to which he has been born. Tree on Fire (1967), a novel with autobiographical elements, was published in Britain in 1968. Travels in Nihilon (1971) is a satirical novel about a country controlled by nihilism. Raw Material (1972) is a fictionalized memoir of his childhood and an exploration of the making of a writer.
“One of the best English writers of the day.”—The New York Times Book Review
“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