New and Collected StoriesOver forty short stories spanning the career of England’s most acclaimed postwar writer—including the iconic “The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner.”
This comprehensive collection of short fiction from bestselling British author Alan Sillitoe mixes aggression with humor, and common working-class men with extraordinary twists of fate. It compiles works selected from the master storyteller’s bestselling books, including The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner; The Ragman’s Daughter; Guzman, Go Home; Men, Women and Children; and The Second Chance. Several previously unpublished works are also included.
In the title story from The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner—which was adapted for film in 1962—a seventeen-year-old inmate in a juvenile detention center must make a difficult life choice. Should he strive to win the national long-distance running competition as everyone is counting on him to do, or should he refuse to vindicate the very system and society that has locked him up?
The titular piece from The Ragman’s Daughter is a lively and poignant narrative about an eighteen-year-old thief named Tony and his new girlfriend, Doris, the seventeen-year-old daughter of a well-to-do scrap dealer. The couple embarks on a wild robbery spree, but after a raid on a shoe shop goes absurdly wrong, Tony ends up behind bars and Doris remains free—but suffers a dark destiny.
A standout tale from Guzman, Go Home, “Revenge” details the dangerously tumultuous marriage between factory foreman Richard and his ornery wife, Caroline. “Mimic,” from the previously collected Men, Women and Children, takes place in the mind of a nameless hero who is locked away in an asylum—a man who uses the art of mimicry to escape reality and avoid being himself. And in “No Name in the Street,” from The Second Chance, an ex-miner who ekes out a living collecting social security and hunting for golf balls, moves in with a woman who has indoor plumbing—but his dog refuses to go along with the plan.
This essential collection reveals the power and timelessness of Sillitoe’s short fiction. Called “a master of the short story” by the Times, the author portrays the complex ethos and pathos of working-class life.
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- Open Road Integrated Media
“A master of the short story.” —The Times (London)
“There are few writers who can rival Sillitoe when it comes to the business of noticing things.” —The Literary Review
“Every story (and there is not one dud) has the exhilaration of revolutionary writing.” —The Sunday Times
About the author
Alan Sillitoe (1928–2010) was a British novelist, poet, essayist, and playwright, known for his honest, humorous, and acerbic accounts of working-class life. Sillitoe served four years in the Royal Air Force and lived for six years in France and Spain, before returning to England. His first novel, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, was published in 1958 and was followed by a collection of short stories, The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner, which won the Hawthornden Prize for Literature. With over fifty volumes to his name, Sillitoe was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1997.