The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner has ratings and reviews. Evan said: I didn’t like him trying to accuse me of something he wasn’t su. A guide to The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner. This guide It may also be helpful to the general reader who is interested in the stories of Alan Sillitoe. “The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner,” by Alan Sillitoe, was first published in It is a first-person monologue spoken by a year-old inmate of an.

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The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner by Alan Sillitoe

Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Smith, a defiant young rebel, inhabits the no-man’s-land of institutionalised Borstal. As his steady jog-trot rhythm transports him over an unrelenting, frost-bitten earth, he wonders why, for whom, and for what he is running. A groundbreaking collection of stories, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner captured the grim isolation of the working class in the English Mi Smith, a defiant young rebel, inhabits the no-man’s-land of institutionalised Borstal.

A groundbreaking collection of stories, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner captured the grim isolation of the working class in the English Midlands when it was first published in the late s. But Sillitoe’s depiction of petty crime and deep-seated anger in industrial and desperate cities remains as potent today as it was over half a century ago.

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner

PaperbackRe-issue editionpages. Published July 16th by Harper Perennial first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Mehrnaz aweeeesooooome piece of work!!!!

I have recently read and so satisfied with my master ‘s decision for choosing this long story for our …more aweeeesooooome piece of work!!!! I have recently read and so satisfied with my master ‘s decision for choosing this long story for our class.

Lists with This Book. It’s a compendium of short stories about lives lived in the mind-numbing milieu and despair of lower-class urban industrial Britain after WWII in the ’40s and ’50s. It is full of life and anger and sadness. And the voices are vibrant even as they sound tired and resigned. This comes right off the pages, in an intimate way.

Written in the vernacular and speech patterns of the locals.

These are honest and sad stories: Some of them have a wicked, subtle wit. This is a splendid collection. A great way to learn about that time, that place and its people. The eponymous first story is one of the best things I’ve ever read.

A lower-class Brit punk without one shred of remorse for his crimes ruminates on life and class and the social order as he runs across the countryside while under lax watch from prison authorities who are grooming him for a track event. He co-opts it to turn the idea of victory on its head, to gain revenge against the system and “win” in his own way. He sticks it to the MAN.

And plenty of irony at the end. Written freely and it flows like a dream. This sums up the runner’s attitude: These are all beautiful stories of loneliness, poignant resignation and longing among the working class. Alan Sillitoe was and is an underrated master, and this maintains its place among my top favorite books. View all 11 comments. Dec 07, Steven Godin rated it really liked it Shelves: Anyone familiar with the films of either Ken Loach or Shane meadows will know of the political messages, social issues, and harsh urban realism they deal with, and deal with brilliantly, Sillitoe does the same, only on paper.

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Life is bleak, with little prospects for a decent future, and after being caught stealing from a bakery he is sent to a borstal Reform School. To escape the restrictive circumstances of his existence he takes to running, long distance, and is really, really good at it, barely breaking into a sweat. Sillitoe uses running in his story as a means of isolation. Running is a solitary action and therefore allows Smith to begin to understand and become aware of the class divisions in Britain at the time.

The governor of the institution, who he dislikes, hopes to make an honest lad of him and knows he has it in him to win the Borstal cross country race. But Smith has a different understanding thr honesty than the governor and has no intention of letting him bask in his own reflected glory. Smith knows he can win, easy, but doesn’t play ball. He never regrets his actions, believing it strengthened his independence and mind, even though it results in soul-destroying manual labour.

This story was one of a few included in this collection, all deal along the lines of how Class issues divided a Nation, you could even argue these stories are just as relevant today. The writers in the ‘angry young men’ movement Sillitoe, Kingsley Amis and others were angry because although living standards for the poor had increased drastically, the power was still olng-distance the hands of the elite. Crime was used as a weapon to gain power, police were thought of as the enemy, They used oppression against criminals to continue to hold power and enforce the divisions of class.

Characters like Sillitoe’s Smith were born into a working class culture that accepted and produced a criminal activity. Long-diatance welfare state brought down the poverty rate this led the working class to often commit crimes out of choice rather than necessity.

Smith commits crimes to make a statement against the societal norms in Sillitof during the post-war period. At the end of the day, a criminal is a criminal, so it’s difficult to be fully in Smith’s corner, he wasn’t mentally ill, thus it’s a life of his own choosing. But circumstance does come into play, If I were in his shoes, would probably have ended up the same way.

What other options were there left?. Thr stories feature the sort of situations a Brit will truly understand, politically speaking, Sillitoe really dug his claws into me, making me realize just how strugglesome places in England were at the time.

Unfortunately, problems still exist now, a housing crisis, the NHS at breaking point, and Mrs May is still all lost at sea over Brexit. One can only hope for a decent outcome. View all 3 comments. May 09, Annelies rated it it was amazing Shelves: Superb collection of short stories. Their power lies in the manner in wich they give you the satisfaction of reading, of constructing a story and give you the impression they have all long-dostance qualities a full novel should have.

There is a lot told in them without seeming over hasty. A great contempt for all aspects of writing. And yet they long-diatance so misguiding simple.

View all 4 comments. Ecco, da oggi questi di Sillitoe saranno per me i veri “Nove Racconti”. Aug 19, Dan rated it it was ok.

I’d say three stars for the title story, but two for most of the rest. He is so full of rage that he deliberately makes a choice that is inimical to his own interests. For me, it was a captivating story, although the telling of the story seemed old-fashioned and slightly off-putting.

The characters are working poor, or often non-working poor. They generally engage in casual violence against women or children and often in casual theft as well as the not-so-casual kind.

Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner: Alan Sillitoe: : Books

Theft in these stories is not so much out of need or even out of the envy for glitzy consumer goods we hear about in America today, but for matters that are not forward-looking– candy or a ride at the carnival.


Sillitoe may be attempting to show the desperate straits of these people by showing us what he believes to be the consequence of the desperation–self-destructive acts rather than purposeful attempts to do better. One trouble for me is that he does not really show the connection between living on the dole and the rage, or why his characters cannot engage in purposeful acts, even if they fail.

The stories seem to me to involve a lot of telling or narrative summary. In some cases Sillitoe seems bent on avoiding actually showing us scenes that have a big impact and taking us as far from the drama as possible. On the other hand, at the very end, without any preparation, we find that Jim does something to ten-year-old girls, presumably something sexual; but this drama is so underplayed, referenced rather than played out, we can only guess what it is that Ths has tge.

The same story illustrates other things Sillitow does repeatedly to keep the reader from being too involved. He tells his story as a frame story. The trouble is that we hardly know the young narrator except as long-ristance eavesdropper, so his stated intent has no impact at all. If, on the other hand, Jim loneliness the center, why separate us from the immediacy of Jim life? The stories add up to a dispiriting account of human beings who make little or no effort to deal with their lives in a way that would be useful for themselves.

And he wrote some 53 volumes of fiction, plays, poetry and other items. I cannot help but think, though, that some of the praise was based on appreciation for the social and political content.

Whatever you think of the writing itself, he certainly addressed himself to the lives of the downtrodden in post-war northern England. Jul 30, Kris rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is one of the best collections of short stories, by an artist I’d never heard of, that I have ever read.

Sillitoe was born long-distnce raised in Nottingham, England, in a working-class family. At long-djstance age of 14 he left school and went sillitoee work with his father in a local bicycle factory. The stories in this collection mostly deal with families like Sillitoe’s – poor factory workers living in cramped, dirty houses where the noise, soot and grime of the nearby factory is a constant part of their lives.

T This is one of the best collections of short stories, by an artist I’d never heard of, that I have ever read. The title story is about a young man Colin who robs a bakery and is sent to a borstal, apan sort of part youth prison, part reform school.

The governor warden of the borstal gives him the opportunity to run cross-country meets for the prison track team; Colin is a good runner, and the governor thinks he will help him to win against a posh private school and get the borstal some good publicity. Throughout the race against the private school, Colin is way in the lead, but he stops running shortly before the finish line, intentionally losing the race to show the governor he is in charge of his own life.

There is an almost childlike innocence to him; when he meets two young girls at a diner, obviously poor and hungry, he tne to buy them something to eat.