Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Hurry on Down

Title: Hurry on Down

Author: John Wain

Year of publication: 1953, Penguin edition 1973

Back cover blurb: 'The book that was the pioneer of the new kind of English novel which appeared in the fifties, linking the names of John Wain, Kingsley Amis, Iris Murdoch, and later John Braine.'

Quick flick reveals: This is the first of three books I have acquired by John Wain (who, to my knowledge, was not 'big-leggy').  Despite being seen as a link between the naturalism of earlier writers such as Arnold Bennett and that of the Kitchen Sink School, and having a place in history as part of CS Lewis's Oxford circle, John Wain's early novels have now been out of print for over twenty years.  There aren't that many clues as to what this one is actually about, but it seems to come out of the tradition of what I call British soft-realism (stories about ordinary people just sort of getting on with things in which no one becomes a crack-addicted prostitute) that I gravitate towards and include myself in, some of the time, so I look forward to reading.

Random paragraph: 'All the time he knew it was true.  He had seen the complacent pride of possession written across Tharkles's face.  It was that knowledge that was driving him mad; for, of course, it is madness pure and simple to race wildly on a bicycle down a country road, chasing a motor-car.'


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