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Room at the Top by John Braine
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Room at the Top (1957)

by John Braine

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508928,758 (3.39)46
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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
"I was moving into the attack and no one had better try to stop me"
By sally tarbox on 8 December 2017
Format: Paperback
Grabs you from the first page: narrated by fiercely ambitious young Joe Lampton, an intelligent lad from a humble background. It's just after WW2 and accountant Joe has broken away from his grim northern hometown of Dufton for an accountancy position in the much more salubrious Warley. He appreciates his new, elegant lodgings,the middle class folk around him; he starts mixing with the select types who make up the local dramatic society; but he's constantly aware that he can never be the equal of the local bigwigs.
And while he begins a love affair with older, married Alice, he's also studiedly making up to wealthy, innocent young Susan Brown:
"A Grade A lovely...the daughter of a factory-owner...the means of obtaining the key to the Aladdin's cave of my ambitions."
Compelling reading. ( )
  starbox | Dec 7, 2017 |
3-3.5 stars. Very good writing (and hot smex scenes!), but I'm more of a HEA girl than the HFN ending that we got. I actually felt sorry for Liam because I didn't feel that Austin and Jay really loved him. More like they loved the idea of having him around with the benefits of sex thrown in. I'm sure they were fond of him, but they definitely put their relationship first and with a threesome book, I felt they should be a bit more equal on the feelings with each other.

But, like any other review, that's just my opinion. :) ( )
  vampkiss | Oct 23, 2013 |
Very cynical. Very good. It started slowly, rather haltingly and seemed quite old fashioned at first. But it got better and better and packed quite a punch at the end.

The sneering arrogance and mercenary attitude of the main character, a regular ladies' man, did make me cringe a bit. But I loved the realism.

After reading this article it is quite clear that the author wrote about what he knew.
( )
  pengvini | Mar 30, 2013 |
This novel has become celebrated as a tale of ambition and drive, and the manner in which obsession can be deleterious to the enjoyment of the very goals that drives its subject on.

The story is narrated by Joe Lampton, and starts with his arrival in Warley where he takes up a job as accounts clerk on the Town Council. These circumstances have led to him being determined to better himself. The greater part of the book centres on Joe's efforts to secure a future he can take pride in.

In Warley, he takes lodgings with the Thompsons, a middle-class couple living in the better part of town, known locally as "T'top". Lampton is delighted to find himself already socially advantaged by taking, quite literally, a "Room at the top", and this serves as a metaphor for his ambition to better himself and to leave behind any vestige of his former life and acquaintances, many of whom he characterises as "zombies", lacking any trace of genuine life and character.

He is introduced to the local amateur dramatic society (always desperate for new cast members). There he encounters, and is smitten by, Susan Brown, the only daughter of a very successful local businessman. However, he also meets the apparently cold and standoffish Alice Aisgill, who plays many of the leading lady parts. Alice and Joe are drawn together and soon start a passionate though clandestine affair..

The novel is strangely dispassionate, even when some pretty awful things happen. Lampton's ambition is finely drawn, but the female characters all stretch credibility beyond comfortable limits. ( )
  Eyejaybee | Sep 27, 2012 |
Joe Lampton is one of the archetypal 'angry young men' who emerged in post war English novels and drama. A handsome, charismatic young man, imprisoned during the war, and working as an accountant in local government, he's sharp enough and canny enough to know that he can get what he wants - affluence, social respect, opportunities - through 'marrying up'. He's cynical enough to go for it, but not amoral enough to achieve it without causing pain and suffering to himself and, worse still, to the woman he really loves. Braine's portrait of post-war northern England is fascinating - the emergence of a 'bohemian' set of amateur thespians, alongside mill owners and local bureaucrats; women who are sexually active and powerful in their own right; the hidden impact of war experiences - all expertly narrated through a very flawed first person narrative. Romance, tragedy, comedy and social commentary - well worth reading
  otterley | Jan 26, 2012 |
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Braine, JohnAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Minton, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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TO PAT
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I came to Warley on a wet September morning with the sky the grey of Guiseley sandstone.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The ruthlessly ambitious Joe Lampton rises swiftly from the petty bureaucracy of local government into the unfamiliar world of inherited wealth, fast cars and glamorous women. But the price of success is high.

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Valancourt Books

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