The Smaller Sky

John Wain’s 1967 novel of urban alienation and loneliness, reissued in 2013.

‘A classic’ Susan Hill, novelist


Scientist Arthur Geary leaves his wife and children and goes to live on a mainline London station. Outwardly sane and in control, he suffers intense anxiety when away from the sheltering ‘smaller sky’ of the station, an anxiety that manifests itself in a frenzied heart beat that he calls ‘the drums’.

As time goes by he is pursued more and more relentlessly by workers on the station, violent fellow-drifters, family and friends. Desperate to shield his young son David from the intrusive attention of a well-known psychiatrist, he unwittingly reveals his vulnerability to his real enemy, a heartless media careerist…

‘The Smaller Sky’ shows the author’s developing of one of his earliest themes, beginning with his first novel, ‘Hurry On Down’ and probably culminating in ‘A Winter In The Hills’: the struggle of the individual to remain individual in a fast, media-driven capitalist world.

The original ‘The Smaller Sky’ was published in hardback with an imaginative dust jacket reproducing one of the now-long gone platform tickets which British railways used to issue, complete with punched holes.

Available as a paperback and ebook edition from Valancourt Books

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