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Saturday Night and Sunday Morning Paperback – 1 Oct 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; New Ed edition (1 Oct. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007205023
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007205028
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,912 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

‘That rarest of all finds: a genuine no-punches-pulled, unromanticised working class novel. Mr Sillitoe is a born writer, who knows his milieu and describes it with vivid, loving precision.’ Daily Telegraph

‘His writing has real experience in it and an instinctive accuracy that never loses its touch. His book has a glow about it as though he had plugged it into some basic source of the working-class spirit.’ Guardian

‘Miles nearer the real thing than D.H.Lawrence's mystic, brooding working-men ever came.’ Sunday Express

‘Outspoken and vivid.’ Sunday Times

‘A refreshing originality.’ Times Literary Supplement

From the Inside Flap

This cult classic of working class life in post-war Nottingham follows the exploits of rebellious factory worker Arthur Seaton and is introduced by Richard Bradford.

Working all day at a lathe leaves Arthur Seaton with energy to spare in the evenings. A hard-drinking, hard-fighting hooligan, he knows what he wants, and he's sharp enough to get it.

Before long, his carryings-on with a couple of married women become the stuff of local gossip. But then one evening he meets a young girl and life begins to look less simple...

First published in 1958, 'Saturday Night and Sunday Morning' achieved instant critical acclaim and helped to establish Alan Sillitoe as one of the greatest British writers of his generation. The film of the novel, starring Albert Finney, transformed British cinema and was much imitated.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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Arthur Seaton's drunken and womanising escapades eventually lead to him being given a beating by an angry husband and soldier pal. The novel finishes on a positive note as he eventually settles down to marriage with Doreen.

What great characters and an intriguing story! I can almost feel at every chapter how the book must have caused a sensation in 1958. The portraits of different husbands and Arthur's attitudes towards marriage are interesting, comparing in the final section of the book to being caught on a hook, like the fish he throws back and offers one more chance (p219).

I personally found chapters such as Brenda's abortion and the fight where Winnie's husband, Bill and his solider friend beat Arthur up minutely detailed and described with an urgency and passion I've never read anywhere else. But strangely, detailed description of how the characters look is conspicuous by its absence; This is a lived life and a lived experience that only a writer with a detailed and intimate knowledge of many of these episodes can write.

It is almost as if we are dipping into the character's lives and this is no doubt a consequence of Alan Sillitoe's construction of the book through short stories over a number of years with a sustained period of writing during the autumn of 1956. I do understand the point Sillitoe makes in an interview in the notes, that the characters are not any one individual and have become composites of many different people, so possibly this contributes to the lack of detail around the facial characteristics of individuals as he doesn't want to draw any one person's features onto a character that is many different people from his memories and life.
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Format: Paperback
When Alan Sillitoe's hard-hitting chunk of working-class life in Post-War Nottingham opens with its antihero Albert Seaton reeling drunk in the local pub the scene is set for the rest of the novel: a saga of fists, fags and philandering. Young Seaton - truculent, selfish and immoral - works as a lathe operator in a local factory during the day and at nights is enjoying the favours of a colleague's wife while her husband is on the late shift. In a life empty of purpose other than easy gratification he continues to play around with married women, fake illness during National Service, drink himself stupid with his hard-earned money and to go fishing when he wants to decompress. It is a tale of a man without vision because there is no vision available other than that dictated by society - rigid, conservative and conventional - which has no appeal to him.
With its ribbons of sooty terraces and zinc baths Saturday Night and Sunday Morning is grimly realistic if somewhat anachronistic. Interesting as English social history it has that distinctly fifties feel when the suppressed anger and resentment against the continuation of inflexible class divisions after the War felt by working-class communities with their backs to the wall was beginning to be expressed in literature, theatre and film.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The trials of Arthur Seaton in 1950s Nottingham. Not a bad read but I have read better! Won't bother with the sequel.
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By Keith M TOP 500 REVIEWER on 28 April 2012
Format: Paperback
Alan Sillitoe's 1958 debut novel was a landmark in British fiction, providing a brilliantly realistic and visceral depiction of working class life in the North of England (Nottingham, to be precise). Of course, depictions of such UK life experiences had been common previously, in works by the likes of Charles Dickens, Jack London, Robert Tressell and Walter Greenwood (to name but a few), but Sillitoe's version was an outstanding tale covering life in post-WWII Britain - and, for me, is still unsurpassed, in terms of anything that I have read in this category. The novel was, of course, made into the equally groundbreaking 1960 film starring Albert Finney and directed by Karel Reisz.

SNASM charts the life and experiences of anti-hero and factory worker Arthur Seaton, as he struggles to come to terms with (or knuckle under) the authority figures in his life (father, foremen, police, army) and to resist the potential stultifying effects of being drawn into a long-term relationship (and even, heaven forbid, marriage) with any one of the loves of his life. Sillitoe's creation in Arthur ranks for me alongside other great post-WWII literary anti-heroes, such as J D Salinger's Holden Caulfield and Arthur Burgess' head droog Alex. Sillitoe's prose is a mix of raw, dialectical rants (frequently delivered by Arthur) and more studied, reflective passages, particularly where Arthur cogitates the meaning of his existence and his likely future. In telling his tale, Sillitoe is unflinching in his depiction of the prevailing political backdrop of the period, where women were expected to know their place and anyone from outside the closed community clique was viewed with suspicion, particularly if this involved a different skin colour.
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Format: Paperback
Set in 1950's Britain, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning portrays the working class life of Arthur Seaton, a 21 year old, Nottingham factory worker . The reader should have an instant dislike to Arthur, he's a womaniser, lazy, and a liar. But like many of the "Angry Young Men" of the time, Arthur has a certain charm about him which makes it very easy for you to forgive his hedonistic lifestyle, even though it is clear to see the negative effects it has on everyone around him. Sillitoe spits the book into two: Saturday night, when the reader experiences Arthur's drinking, adultery and fighting, and Sunday morning, as the action of Saturday night catches up to Arthur. Sillitoe embodies in his lead protagonist, the serious effects that the Second World War had on a generation, giving an actuate portrayal of the mood of the young in post war Britain. Selfish, superficial and mercenary on the surface, Sillitoe skilfully adds extra dimensions to the character of Arthur through the quality of his writing, Arthur can be both a bastard and a philosopher at the same time. All in all, this is a interesting read into what life was like for a working class youth scared by the Second World War, although on the surface it's a brilliant fable about what can happen if you experience the excesses of life too much .
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