Out of the Whirlpool

Alan Sillitoe, Author, Peter Farmer, Illustrator HarperCollins Publishers $11.95 (122p) ISBN 978-0-06-015892-7
As in his highly praised novels (Saturday Night and Sunday Morning), Sillitoe sets this novella in working-class Nottingham, in England's textile-manufacturing Midlands, lyrically evoking a grim and improverished landscape. Peter Granby, 18, is like a fine English oak tree trying to grow on a dungheap. When Peter's sickly mother dies, he moves in with his grandmother, whose paramour, Len, is a nasty old bully with a penchant for young women. Peter, an inarticulate youth, works as a factory laborer, and, one day, when an old woman falls on the pavement, he instinctively rushes out to the street to help her. After the woman dies, her wealthy daughter Eileen Farnsfield gives Peter a reward and invites him to call on her if he ever needs help. Peter derisively dismisses the idea, but soon circumstances force him to swallow his pride and accept a job as Mrs. Farnsfield's handyman-chauffeur. His entire outlook changes, as well as his hopes for the future. But he is out of his depth with the widow Eileen and pays a bitter price for his stroke of luck. One of the entries in the publisher's short novel series, this is a poetic tale, almost Russian in its tragic inevitability. (March)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1988
Release date: 03/01/1988
Hardcover - 94 pages - 978-0-09-168300-9
Hardcover - 129 pages - 978-1-85089-224-3
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