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Hurry on Down

3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  87 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
"A great fund of comic invention." - "Times Literary Supplement"
"Written with great spirit . . . very funny . . . fresh, unhackneyed and excellently observed." - "Listener"
"[A] bustling kaleidoscope of a book, by an author fertile in expedient, keenly observant and occasionally probing the heart of darkness." - "Sunday Times"
Charles Lumley feels that he has been born
Published 1965 by Penguin (first published January 1st 1960)
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This is an enjoyable read, very much in the category of the "angry young man" pose. The 1950's litterati in Britain seemed to have been smoldering with resentment against the established order of things ("the Establishment") -remember the Church Bells in "Look Back in Anger"? -some of them, maybe most of them were considered leftish in their day but when they became older they tended to a Thatcherite disdain for social responsibility. Consistently it seems to me, whether they thought of themselv ...more
Apr 17, 2011 Karyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The ideas expressed here 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 th ...more
Evan Knudsen
Aug 17, 2011 Evan Knudsen marked it as to-read
"In Charles's breast pocket was a paper packet containing his last cigarette. He took it out carefully, but it had somehow bent, and the paper was broken in the middle. He began to smoke it, holding it so that one finger exactly covered the torn spot, inhaling deeply. The hot storm-centre of alcohol in his stomach rose to meet the smoldering pool of nicotine in his lungs, and, the burden of guilt and fatigue slipping from his shoulders, he breathed a silent prayer of gratitude to the twin deitie ...more
Jul 20, 2007 Joseph rated it it was amazing
One of the funniest novels of the 1950s, alas is now forgotten. I found a haggard looking paperback in used book store years ago.
Lizzy B
Jan 16, 2011 Lizzy B rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Hurry on down proves a colourful mix of social commentary, emotion, random ‘luck’ events and the meandering brain of one taken to making both nothing and everything of a situation. For the most part, the novel has been lucidly strung together, and save for a slow, wordy beginning it is only once in a while that it loses momentum, showing signs of being the authors first major work. Somehow Wain manages to make even the mundane appear interesting or complicated in such a way that I, the reader, c ...more
Gareth Evans
Dec 03, 2015 Gareth Evans rated it really liked it
Written a year before Lucky Jim, it has a similar feel to Amis's rather more coherently-plotted work. The episodic nature of the book is it's weakness. There are some excellent set pieces, but it doesn't engage as well as, say, Luck Jim or Room at the Top. However, it's a well-written and enjoyable slide of 1050s fiction.
Aug 21, 2014 Al rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I read this today in a ' meet an old friend for comfort ' kind of way. I haven't read it in ages.
It's very dated but still the Angry Young Man shakes his fist from the pages. It is a timeless classic with some utterly beautiful writing.

John Weller
Aug 12, 2009 John Weller rated it liked it
Now you middle-class anti-heroes are getting a bit predictable. Man graduates, turns his back on expected path of employment, renounces money and ambition, finds he doesn't fit in anywhere, nice middle-class job falls in to his lap, gets the girl...

Even though this book has little point or direction I enjoyed it lots even though Charles (had to be called Charles) failed to get beaten up. Could have done with a bit more soul searching and paranoia.
Kathleen Haley
Feb 05, 2012 Kathleen Haley rated it it was amazing
This picaresque novel was so good that when I finished it (last night) I was well-nigh heartbroken. It's hard not to grow so close to the hero (Charles Lumley) that you feel even more suspense, thrill, and despondency than he does as the various twists and turns of the plot unfold. It's side-splittingly funny at some places, crack-up-worthy at others, and always witty.
Jordan Winfield
Jul 05, 2013 Jordan Winfield rated it really liked it
four stars but my copy had no pages between 148 and 167. one minute lumley was being chased by police and then next he was working in a hospital. i filled in the blanks using my expert brain thoughts though.
Feb 01, 2013 Linden rated it really liked it
Enjoyed the author's introduction 25 years after first publication of the book. He describes it as a "youthful firework display" - endearing and enjoyable. I agree!
I read it because he was a contemporary of Kingsley Amis--but more of an Angry Young Man than Amis was.
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John Barrington Wain (14 March 1925 – 24 May 1994) was an English poet, novelist, and critic, associated with the literary group "The Movement". For most of his life, Wain worked as a freelance journalist and author, writing and reviewing for newspapers and the radio.

Wain was born and grew up in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, the son of a dentist, Arnold Wain, and his wife Annie, née Turner. He ha
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