Sillitoe's Heroic Career as Raw Working-Class Writer; APPRECIATION

Article excerpt

Byline: David Sexton Literary Editor

ALAN SILLITOE, who died yesterday at 82, will be remembered for just two books, his first novel, Saturday Night And Sunday Morning, published in 1958, and its follow-up, The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner, a collection of short stories, published in 1959.

These two titles were both made into films, the former which made a star of Albert Finney, appearing in 1960, and the latter, starring Tom Courtenay and Michael Redgrave, in 1962.

Both the films and the books were admired for their raw, vivid picture of working-class life, as Sillitoe knew it in Nottingham, and he was co-opted into the Angry Young Man movement, one of the most incoherent, shallow and insular literary waves ever, a peculiar by-product of the British class system at the time. Sillitoe's early fiction broke new ground in its subject matter -- the realities of life for the womanising, self-assertive latheoperator Arthur Seaton who lives for the weekend, and for Smith, the Borstal boy who loses the race to spite the pot-bellied governor. …

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