A Start in Life

A Start in Life

Alan Sillitoe

Literature & Fiction / Short Stories

An outrageously funny novel of adventure, sex, corruption, and crime from one of the greatest British authors of the twentieth century. Michael Cullen is proud to be a bastard. His first memories are of the war, when his mother welcomed every soldier in Britain into her house, and young Michael hid beneath her bed to let the rocking of the springs lull him to sleep. By the time he's eighteen, he's got a pregnant girlfriend, and is staring down a long life of working-class respectability that simply makes him sick. So Michael says goodbye to his girlfriend and his home in Nottingham, and hits the road for London, where he will make his fortune—or die trying. From the nightclubs of Soho to the depths of London's underworld, Michael can't help but get into trouble. But whether he's chauffeuring a vicious gangster or smuggling gold bullion across the channel, he never stops having a wonderful time. Indeed, Michael is something else entirely: a happy...
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A Man of his Time

A Man of his Time

Alan Sillitoe

Literature & Fiction / Short Stories

A wonderful historical novel from one of our best loved and most prolific writers As a young man Ernest Burton was a bold and reckless journeyman blacksmith, seducing all young girls he comes across. We watch him grow to become a master Blacksmith, and a tyrannical father of eight who refuses even to try to remain faithful to the woman he married and who reigns over his young family with an iron fist, instilling in his sons and daughters a mixture of fear and hatred of him. Burton is an extraordinary fictional creation -- a bully who shows no mercy in his relentless terrorism of his sons, he can also be effortlessly charming, with a magnetic attraction that effects all he meets. Written in the sparse, plain language that Sillitoe has made his own, A Man of His Time is a mesmerising portrait of an extraordinary individual, aware that he is, in many ways, the last of a dying breed. It's a rich, absorbing, wonderfully readable novel that...
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Key to the Door

Key to the Door

Alan Sillitoe

Literature & Fiction / Short Stories

An existential saga of working-class life in a British factory town and military service in the torrid jungles of the Far East from award-winning, bestselling author Alan SillitoeKey to the Door turns away from the boisterous pursuits of Arthur Seaton made infamous in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, and focuses instead on the quieter rebellions of his older brother, Brian. Brian's childhood and adolescence in the grimy streets of Nottingham are shaped by the Depression-era struggles of his family, the life and culture of the factory town, and the love and bullying of his iron-willed grandfather and erratic father. When Brian reaches adulthood, he frequents the local pubs, works hard at a cardboard factory, and runs into a sticky situation with a woman named Pauline that obliges him to marry her. Soon though, he is conscripted for the postwar occupation of Malaya, and his true colors begin to show. Brian declares that he only wears his...
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A Tree on Fire

A Tree on Fire

Alan Sillitoe

Literature & Fiction / Short Stories

The second novel in award-winning, bestselling author Alan Sillitoe's William Posters Trilogyis an existential investigation of protest and revolution in 1960s North Africa and England Jewish dilettante Myra Bassingfield returns to England from Gibraltar with her four-week-old son. Frank Dawley, the child's father and the anarchist antihero of The Death of William Posters, has disappeared into the African desert, where he is fighting with the FLN (Front de Libération Nationale) for Algerian independence against French troops. Greeting Myra quayside as she disembarks from the ship is Frank's friend, Albert Handley, an idealistic painter living in a chaotic house in Linconshire with seven kids, a bulldog, six cats, and two au pair girls. Albert's brother, John, is determined to break from the family and he sets off for Algeria to track Frank down—but not before burning the Handley house to the ground. The Handley...
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Moggerhanger

Moggerhanger

Alan Sillitoe

Literature & Fiction / Short Stories

A madcap, bawdy tale about an ordinary man who goes to work for a racketeer and has the adventure of a lifetime: the last novel by an iconic British writer. Michael Cullen, from Nottingham, has a shady past, but nearing his forties, he's settled down, married a doctor, and started working for an ad agency. That is, until the agency fires him. He's not terribly upset though. Actually, he feels free—he hated that job. But he knows he's disappointed his wife and isn't sure what to do next, so he decides to hit the road for a few weeks. Then, he's contacted by his old boss, Claude Moggerhanger. A racketeer whom Cullen once tried—and failed—to put in jail, Moggerhanger seems to have forgiven him, and wants to hire him to do a little "job." All he has to do is drive Moggerhanger's Rolls Royce to Greece, get Greek food for Moggerhanger's wife, collect a few packages, and deliver one in Belgrade. This sounds pretty suspect to Cullen,...
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