The first novel of A. Sillitoe, published 1958.
Its protagonist, anarchic young Arthur Seaton, lathe operator in a Nottingham bicycle factory, provided a new prototype of the working‐class Angry Young Man; rebellious, contemptuous towards authority, he unleashes his energy on drink and women, with quieter interludes spent fishing in the canal. His affair with Brenda, married to his workmate Jack, overlaps with an affair with her sister Winnie, inaugurated in the night that Brenda attempts a gin‐and‐hot‐bath abortion recommended by his Aunt Ada; both relationships falter when he is beaten up by soldiers, one of them Winnie's husband, and he diverts his attention to young Doreen, to whom he becomes engaged (after a fashion) in the penultimate chapter. A landmark in the development of the post‐war novel, with its naturalism relieved by wit, high spirits, and touches of lyricism, the novel provided the screenplay (also by Sillitoe) for Karel Reisz's 1960 film.
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Alan Sillitoe (1928—2010) English writer