The Loneliness of Long Distance Runner – R.I.P Alan Sillitoe

The Loneliness of Long Distance Runner

Forgotten Classic Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

Obit by Bruce Weber

Alan Sillitoe, a British writer whose two early works — a novel, “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning,” and a short story, “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner” — drew attention to the seething alienation of the postwar working class in England, died on Sunday in London. He was 82.

RIP Alan Sillitoe (Telegraph UK)

In his earliest work, before his powerful sense of social injustice began to dominate his fiction, Sillitoe created plausible, complex youths who rebelled against the establishment, epitomised by parent, policeman and boss. Inevitably his work chimed at a time when youth culture and adolescent anger were beginning to dominate the media through the work not only of John Osborne, but of Brando, James Dean, JD Salinger and the still-embryonic pop music.

The various protagonists of Sillitoe’s early fiction are generally restless young men from the slum world, who oppose the established order of things, but who are at the same time affected by consumerism and hedonism. Sillitoe rejected artistic elitism and instead of satirizing cosy middle-class British life, he focused on rebellious individuals and poor people, who have vile lives. “If I lost all I have in the world I wouldn’t worry much,” (Via)