The loneliness of the long distance runner
It’s pretty obvious why I bought this book; the title itself just calls out to me as a long distance runner and avid reader I couldn’t not buy it!
A collection of short stories delving into the ramshackle lives of WW2 era laborers and their families, often living on the dole, scratching out a meager living and fighting the social hardships of the times; a gritty, down and out struggle to survive in an environment where the line between law and lawlessness was often blurred.
Often thought of as outsiders, Sillitoe’s main characters share certain traits (perhaps from the author’s own personality?) like isolation and loneliness, or have suffered at the hands of their lovers and find themselves unable to move forward in their lives. The vernacular language adds a poignancy to the story, a realism or believability that would be lost without it.
The nine stories in this collection thread together to make a beautiful tapestry; the author, a skilled craftsman, has mastered his trade and brought his readers through a looking glass into a world most have never known.
(A movie adaptation of the title story was made in 1962.)