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Rugby League football in an industrial northern city circa 1960 is a life of grime, mud, sweat, intrigue and naked ambition. In This Sporting Life, David Storey recounts the fortunes of gladiator hero Arthur Machin from the day of his inclusion in the local team to the match when he begins to feel age creeping up on him. Through Arthur we are taken into his raw, often brutal world of players, backers, Saturday crowds bloody noses and broken teeth, landladies and communal baths.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099274797
ISBN-10: 0099274795
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 16mm)
Pages: 256
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 3-Feb-2000
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


US Kirkus Review » The Macmillan Fiction Award winner is a first novel by a young Englishman and it takes a somewhat sullen but uncompromising look at the anything but sporting life of a young professional football player in Yorkshire. Arthur Machin, inarticulate, truculent, calculating, is a familiar type who finds that there is room at the top as the local celebrity on the Rugby League team; it is a dirty game which he plays for its immediate returns- better certainly than working on a lathe. Immune, however, is Mrs. Hammond, his landlady, a widow with two children, beaten by the unfortunate conditions of her life but not to the point where she can accept with any pleasure the advances which Arthur makes-and his attempt to improve her circumstances. Arthur is crude and clumsy, and Mrs. Hammond remains fierce in her ingratitude and independence, so that his awkward efforts to ease her dying- as her living - (the most and perhaps only moving part of the book) are unreturned and unrewarded.... The strength of Mr. Storey's novel is in its toneless air of truth which spares nothing or no one, a fact which may well rebuff his readers. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - David Storey

David Storey was born in 1933 in Wakefield, and studied at the Slade School of Art. He is the author of fifteen plays and eleven novels, most recently The Thin-Ice Skater (2004). He has won many prizes, including the Macmillan Fiction Award, the Somerset Maugham Award, the Faber Memorial Prize and, in 1976, the Booker Prize for Saville. He now lives in London.

Books By Author David Storey

This Sporting Life by David Storey

This Sporting Life

Paperback / softback, August 2015
Home by David Storey


Paperback, October 2013
Territories by David Storey


Hardback, December 2011
Territory by David Storey


Paperback, February 2001