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Hurry on Down by John Wain

Hurry on Down (1953)

by John Wain

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The ideas expressed are creative and amusing, but they are also bitter, and perhaps it explains why John Wain is often included as one of the novelists referred to as the Angry Young Men of the post-war period. But whatever bitterness his character feels, it is not projected outwards; he doesn't retaliate against Society. He simply looks out into the world and recognises that he doesn't share the aspirations of the class into which he has been born. He doesn't see a place for someone who thinks the way he does.
Continued ( )
  apenguinaweek | May 11, 2011 |
This is the story of a young man's progression, a Tom Jones or Roderick Random for the 1950s. I think Wain is attempting a full-blooded picaresque, but doesn't really manage to sustain it. He certainly uses all the furniture, including increasingly unlikely co-incidences where old acquaintances keep turning up to to send our hero spinning off in a different direction as he continues his spiral from Middle Class graduate to down-and-out.

Charles Lumley is as unattractive character as you could want to meet, his sense of his own superiority to his origins, and his fatuous rejection of them, are nothing to his all-round loathing for everyone fellow beings. Although Wain is writing a comedy, I can';t help comparing him with Alan Sillitoe, a man who really knows how to write about the working classes without turning them into cardboard cut-outs. Oddly, both have often been lumped in with the Angry Young Men, although neither were ever part of that 'movement'.

This is Wain's first novel and an odd thing it is too, almost a novel of two halves, the first being genuinely funny, the second becoming sour and unconvincing. I though it was an interesting period piece. ( )
1 vote Greatrakes | Jul 13, 2008 |
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When Hurry On Down was first published in the U.S. it was given the title Born in Captivity.
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