LIFE AT THE TOP by John Braine


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Joe Lampton, the poor boy, the ""jumped up nowt"" who seemed to have it made in Room at the Top, is now 35, ten pounds overweight and ten years too late. Susan, while still desirable, is getting to be ""like Susan's mother""; their son, Harry, now in public school, doesn't respect him; neither does his father-in-law, and he's tired of being nothing more than the boss' son-in-law. So that there's only Barbara, 4, whom he really loves but whom he will eventually lose. Joe's changes (Braine has too) and his touchy resentment has tapered down to a kind of rueful resignation. Still, if he's stopped wanting ""things"", there's the nostalgia for his youth and hope of retrieving what has been lost through Norah after he learns of Susan's infidelity. But Norah is not the answer, nor is the revelation that Barbara is not his child quite as irreconcilable as he had thought; obligations offset betrayals- his own- Susan's and make way for a new kind of love.... The original angry young man, subdued- even diminished by life, is still a very likable sort and turns in a cost-accounting which is sometimes appallingly aware and often moving. The tremendous success of the motion picture should have softened up a popular market which did not read the first book. Even if one suspects a double image, Joe Lampton's bitter, facile charm may well be Lawrence Harvey's, it is attractive.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1962
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin