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 covers decades and crosses generations, depicting with singular brilliance an England poised on the brink of change.
Reviews of A Man of his Time
‘Sillitoe keeps on going… never flagging, never looking back and writing with a vigour, clarity and humanity that should be the envy of all those novelists who were not even born when he started.’ Daily Mail
‘What impresses one, as ever, about Sillitoe, is the ease of a style which yet allows him to expose the most complex emotions, and his ability to bring to light what people hide from themselves, or choose not to admit.’ Scotsman
‘One of Britain’s most powerful and sophisticated fiction writers.’ TLS