The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

Alan Sillitoe

The title story in this classic collection tells of Smith, a defiant young rebel, inhabiting the no-man’s land of institutionalised Borstal. As his steady jog-trot rhythm transports him over an unrelenting, frost-bitten earth, he wonders why, for whom and for what he is running. A groundbreaking work, ‘The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner’ captured the grim isolation of the working class in the English Midlands when it was first published in 1960s. But Sillitoe’s depiction of petty crime and deep-seated anger in industrial and desperate cities remains as potent today as it was almost half a century ago.

Reviews of The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

  • ‘I have read nothing to compare with it.’ Penelope Mortimer

    ‘Sillitoe writes with tremendous energy, and his stories simply tear along.’ Daily Telegraph

    ‘All the imaginative sympathy in the world can’t fake this kind of thing. It must have been lived in, seen, touched, smelled: and we are lucky to have a writer who has come out of it knowing the truth, and having the skill to turn that truth into art.’ New Statesman

    ‘Graphic, tough, outspoken, informal.’ The Times

    ‘A beautiful piece of work, confirming Sillitoe as a writer of unusual spirit and great promise.’ Guardian

    ‘A major writer.’ Malcolm Bradbury