Seven reasons to read Alan Sillitoe’s “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner”23 September 2009

long distance

1. It’s a book of short stories.

2. The onomatopoeias and the rhythms of the sentences: On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jogtrot, jogtrot, crunchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion…
(Title story)

3. The breathtakingly sad endings: Yes, I cry, but neither of us did anything about it, and that’s the trouble. (The Fishing Boat Picture).

4. The fabulous Nottingham vernacular: I could scoff a horse between two mattresses. (Noah’s Ark)

5. The tragicomic scenes: “I’m going ter ‘ang messen, lad,” he told me, as though he’d done it a time or two already, and people had usually asked him questions like this beforehand. (On Saturday Afternoon)

6. The precise portraiture of the characters: I swear blind he didn’t know the difference between an apron string and a pair of garters, though I’m sure his brand-new almost-beautiful wife must have tried to drum it into his skull before she sent him whining back to his mother. (The Disgrace of Jim Scarfedale)

7. My copy is so yellowed, it looks like papyrus.

2 Responses to “Seven reasons to read Alan Sillitoe’s “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner””

  1. Phil Green

    I might be moved to leav my copy of “A Kestrel for a Knave” (Oooooooooh Ouch Bobby Charlton) and revisit TLOTLDR. My copy is a Penguin circa 1965.

  2. Ultimate Guide to Sports and Games

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