John Wain’s first novel, published in 1953, which has been called the first appearance of the Angry Young Man as hero.
Charles Lumley has finished University, which has left him totally unsuited for any job he would want to take, and he has split from the woman he has been in love with since they were at school. He takes on any number of jobs as his whims and circumstances dictate : window cleaner, comedy scriptwriter, delivery driver, hospital porter. Through a picaresque chain of accidents he comes to terms with his own feelings and the girl that he has set his heart on, even though she seems to be out of his reach as he rejects both the money-world and the life of a working man…
Available from Smaller Sky Books in the UK and Valancourt publishers, including as a Kindle edition worldwide, in the USA (shortly, 2013).
Dad always hated the ‘Angry Young Men’ tag, insisting that the whole thing was just a concept made up by journalists and that even if there was such a group, he was not part of it. Other writers, such as KIngsley Amis (also connected in the public mind with the AYMs) denied that there was such a movement. Still, the concept has passed into the literary history of the 1950s and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. The term might be applied better to writers like John Osborne and the heroic philosopher/novelist Colin Wilson – who ‘jumped out of his sleeping bag on Hampstead Heath’ and into the role of the Angriest and Youngest, which he played till he dropped.
Short quote about Wilson is from Wain, ‘Sprightly Running‘ 1962.