Room at the Top is a novel by John Braine, first published in the United Kingdom by Eyre The book centres on Joe's efforts to secure a future he can take pride in. In Warley, he takes lodgings with the Thompsons, a middle class couple living . Room at the Top book. Read 91 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. The ruthlessly ambitious Joe Lampton rises swiftly from the petty b. Room at the Top is his first novel and it is a remarkable one it's a long time since we heard the Author interviews, book reviews, editors' picks, and more.
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Although he wrote twelve works of fiction, Braine is chiefly remembered today for his first novel, Room at the Top (), which was also turned. Room at the Top () by John Braine is a study of post-war Britain, its class structures, and the challenges that a young generation growing up faced. Room at the Top (), the first novel by John Braine (), earned widespread critical acclaim and was a runaway bestseller in England and America.
Room at the Top 5,7. Boekverslag door een scholier 5e klas aso woorden 26 mei 77 keer beoordeeld. Room at the Top. John Braine. Sociale roman , Liefdesroman. Eerste uitgave. Geschikt voor. Oorspronkelijke taal. Boekverslag Reacties 1 Andere verslagen 2. Continu blijven zoeken, twijfelen, vallen en opstaan. Tijdens onze Open Avond op woensdag 5 juni staan onze studenten en docenten klaar om al je vragen te beantwoorden.
Kom langs en ontdek of jij hier past. Meer info! Short summary. The story happens shortly after the Second World War. Joe Lampton has lived in Dufton for 25 years, a little town where nothing happens. He wants to make career, so he moves to Warley and stays by The Thompsons. He works as an accountant, but wants to get rich as fast as possible, although he hates rich people. He meets a woman, Alice.
One day he meets the 19 years old Suzan, she is really beautiful, but comes from a higher social class than Joe. Suzan gets pregnant, so he is obliged to marry her. When Alice hears this news, she commits suicide. Joe feels terrible and tries to forget her death by drinking liters of beer and rum.
Fortunately he is found by his friends and they comfort him as possible as they can. Life goes on for him and Suzan… 2. Meaning of the title. He wants to stand at the top. The author may also refer to the room that Joe Lampton rents.
He rents a room from the Thompsons. Many people who live on the hill are rich. Neither love is perfect and plenty stands in the way of each affair. Inevitably things become increasingly complicated, and it seems certain that Joe is heading for heartache one way or another. The novel is set in a period when class boundaries were clearly defined and social mobility was difficult.
In a time when the effects of World War II were still evident, it's hardly surprising that the luxuries afforded the wealthy were coveted, and spawned a generation of Angry Young Men of which Joe was certainly a part who lashed out at a world stacked against them.
However, though his great thirst for a better life drives Joe forwards and allows him to break into the insular society at the top it is at a significant cost to himself. Room at the Top is one of the best known examples of social realism in literature, a style that flourished in Britain in the s.
The picture of Dufton, Joe's hometown, as a stale and stagnant place, whose inhabitants go mindlessly about their business with no thought of a better life is well done, and it's clear that Joe, even though he moves away from Dufton, has its effects ingrained in his character. Spoilers seep in here and flood quickly Theirs is more proper relationship with emotional investment and a smidgen of personal growth but in the end Joe needs Susan to be the fancy woman standing next to his fancy car so he Super-Negs hers and manages to get her pregnant.
Her Dad honest to goodness offers him money to leave forever but he declines which is good because it was all a test! Instead he offers Joe his blighted daughter in marriage and fancy job with his company.
Joe is distraught, goes out, gets pissed in the UK sense and shags a stranger but then goes on to get married and become a captain of industry, eventually penning this memoir, the end. Some bits certainly stuck in my throat, but I still found it fascinating. This makes it unique but also honest. Joe, though empirically horrible, never ceases to be sympathetic and this can only be down to his own brutally unfiltered account of his actions. It also opens up his experience to speak of this new post war modern world at large.
The class system is breaking apart. Grocers and mill owners are now the ones building houses and throwing balls. Joe is a good kid. He loves his parents.
He earned his accountancy certificate studying as a POW. That and the attitude towards ladies. To simply find the mad-men mentality towards the fairer sex insulting would be to overlook the rare jewel offered by this prose; an honest assessment of the effect of female beauty.
Culturally, we are saturated with female beauty. Hollywood may lead the way in this today but books were there first. Throughout the book Joe rates the ladies of his acquaintance on a charming scale of It may sound crass but there is a truth in this that does us no favours to ignore; namely female beauty can be and will be commoditized into a status symbol. This book may be a product of its time in places.
It is hard-wired in the male brain, often linked more with competitiveness than love or even lust. And there you have it. It is a brilliant book of frank insight, though, and definitely worth a read. View 1 comment. Written in , but set a little earlier, this is the story of a shameless social climber. Orphaned Joe was raised by his working class aunt and uncle in a grim northern industrial town. Whilst a PoW, he studied for accountancy qualifications and after the war moves to a more prosperous town.
He lodges with a well-to-do middle aged couple, gets involved with the local amateur dramatic group ands sets about bettering himself whilst ensuring he gets plenty of sex too - it was probably pretty racy Written in , but set a little earlier, this is the story of a shameless social climber.
He lodges with a well-to-do middle aged couple, gets involved with the local amateur dramatic group ands sets about bettering himself whilst ensuring he gets plenty of sex too - it was probably pretty racy for its time. He considers the cost, quality and availability of everything, including women, with disarming honesty to the reader, though rarely to those he meets in the story.
He is very manipulative and aware of the fact, yet despite this, there is enough charm to draw the reader into collusion.
I feel a little guilty for enjoying this book as much as I did. Perhaps it's just as well I've never met anyone like Joe in real life? Aug 02, Tony Fletcher rated it really liked it. Novel set in post-war Northern England is like a time capsule into a past world where even the educated working classes faced limited opportunities unless they demonstrated the rare avarice to try and climb socially via marriage - which forms the basis of the narrator's quest.
If the amount of alcohol consumed by rich and poor alike through the process of this story fails to surprise this is England, after all , then the degree of pre-marital, extra-marital, passing and unprotected sex may shoc Novel set in post-war Northern England is like a time capsule into a past world where even the educated working classes faced limited opportunities unless they demonstrated the rare avarice to try and climb socially via marriage - which forms the basis of the narrator's quest.
If the amount of alcohol consumed by rich and poor alike through the process of this story fails to surprise this is England, after all , then the degree of pre-marital, extra-marital, passing and unprotected sex may shock some who like me thought that somehow people didn't Then again, it's a novel. Comments below this one about the narrator's sexism are entirely appropriate, except that they come from the benefit of hindsight.
Room at the Top is telling it as the author, John Braine, saw it at the time - and the treatment of, and subsequently the behavior of, the women is not desperately different than those in, for example, This Sporting Life, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning or Angry Young Men.
Narrators are often confused with novelists, and we sometimes want our "heroes" to act with far more heroism. But such stories are for children, with their princesses and fairly tale endings.
This is a story of thing as they once were, retroactive views of equality of gender, class, sexual orientation or, not that it is touched in this book, race be damned. Joe climbs to the top the only way he knows how, of the time and at the time. You don't have to love him to appreciate his story, and what it tells us about a world that has changed in many, if not all, ways. Against a backdrop of post-war Britain, a period when people really did believe that a new future, a different kind of society was just around the corner, Joe Lampton, born January , aspired to social and economic elevation.
Though competent and already promoted, as a local government officer in a grubby northern English town, with spare time interests in amateur dramatics, cigarettes and beer, even he himself rated his prospects of success as very poor. Two in particular caught his eye. Basically she wanted love and passion to light up her dull, unhappy life with excitement. Susan Brown was a different prospect entirely, being nineteen, virginal and daughter of a rich businessman.
If Joe Lampton could never work his way to wealth, he might just be able to marry it. Further complications arose when Susan relented and fell immediately pregnant. Well Joe achieved his goal. He and Susan married and he attained what he had sought all along, a meal ticket for life. He was not entirely without conscience, however. So when the rejected Alice, who deeply loved him, is killed in a car crash after a drunken night trying to drown her sorrows, Joe Lampton does suffer some remorse.
But eventually, like many social climbers, he achieves his heights by trampling on others. Joe perceives his best chance of social elevation is to marry money. And, in , I re-read this novel in a week when a United Kingdom report declared that current day social class differences were widening, whilst opportunities for social mobility are actually decreasing.
The book is very much of its own time. It reminds us, for instance, that in the s everyone smoked — and smoked a lot. Men drank pints in the pub — some of which did not even admit women. Homosexuality was not only not tolerated, it was illegal, though remained visible.
Some of the recorded individual aspiration now seems nothing less than quaint. Alice Aisgarth, for instance, declares that she would like to sleep with Joe. Joe Lampton believes he lacks the capacity to succeed, lacks the necessary background, the poise, the breeding. He sees himself as essentially vulgar and possesses no talents which might compensate for this drawback.
He is studying for a science degree at Cambridge, and thus acquiring not only the knowledge which will ensure that he will become the managing director of the family firm, but will also endow the polish of manner, the habit of command, the calm superiority of bearing, the attributes of a gentleman. And so despite the aspiration for and perceived attainment of social change in post-war Britain, Room At The Top, juxtaposed with recent evidence, reminds us that very little, if anything, has changed — except for the cigarettes and the chamber pots, of course.
Oh, and we might now also prefer lager. First read in for school: It made me terribly angry, because I absolutely loathed the first-person-narrator. He's a misogynistic, manipulating and socially upward asshole and I was furious that we had to read this stuff. I was guilty of confusing the narrator with the author and transferred all my anger onto John without a Braine. Upon re-reading I'm still not sure that the writer himself sees things differently than his protagonist. Sure, Britain's post-war society with its class boundar First read in for school: Sure, Britain's post-war society with its class boundaries and the trauma of the narrator's war experience made him behave like he does and he ends up a broken man.
There is some writerly distribution of karma there, but the portrayal of the central female characters is what still makes me angry. Our narrator has got the biggest madonna-whore complex imaginable: The whore, who actually is a modern, sexually liberated woman, ends up killing herself in a car accident. The narrator rapes the madonna, the year-old daughter of a factory owner and way above his status, gets her pregnant and thus climbs up the social ladder because this helps him to get her father's approval to marry her.
Of course, he only ever really loved the whore, but it's too late now. Isn't that lovely? Maybe that's how life was in the late s and early s in Britain and elsewhere.
Maybe the author just refrained from judging his characters. Still, I dimly remember that we didn't discuss the novel from a feminist point of view or looked at the portrayal of women in it. It was all about class and how the narrator is an angry young man. There is much I missed in the first reading back when I was 17, but my gut feeling about the novel is basically the same. I've still got a problem with novels with asshole protagonists.
I need someone I can identify with. I think back then I was especially outraged at the portrayal of Susan, the naive virgin. Today, I'm also frustrated about year-old Alice who married the wrong guy and who sees herself as old and is perceived as old by her year-old lover. How do you cope with novels in which the narrator or the protagonists are utterly unlikeable?
Sometimes the anger you feel is what the author intends, sometimes this anger gives you a new insight into the world. Post a new comment Laura, Wanda et al. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers.
To view it, click here. Nov 24, Steven rated it it was amazing Shelves: Unfortunately, an all too true account of how love is in the real world, rather than how we wish it were. Nov 10, metaphor rated it liked it. As I took her roughly into my arms I felt loneliness come over me, real as the damp churchyard smell of the grass, melancholy as the sound of the beck in the little glen below us. I felt heavy as Sunday, as if time might drag me into a world like a bad engraving, still and dark and dull and lost.
I think a lot of people still think like this today, even if they don't end up bloody and drunk in the street at the end. The hierarchy of grades of partner seems awfully familiar, and the sense of distance from your own happiness is, sadly, not simply a product of a 50s mindset. May 11, Lostaccount rated it it was amazing.
Joe meets his first batch of victims at the local theatre group. Joe also falls madly in lust with Alice, a more ahem mature, married, woman. All the way through I kept thinking, make your bloody mind up and stop toying with these women. Does Joe want the trophy relationship or the real one? Joe is an orphan parents wiped out by bomb — the book is set post-war s but you shouldn't feel sorry for our main character.
But Joe, as an anti-hero, is a brilliantly intense character and the character insight is so powerful and the writing so powerful that the book had me gripped from start to finish.
The ending was genuinely thrilling. Aug 16, Vanessa V. There may not be a lot in plot, but Room at the Top has a whole lot in character, and that character is Joe Lampton. He's a character that we aren't meant to like.
He's an anti-hero and he knows it. He's a social climber. He rates people based on levels and on monetary value. He wants to be in love, but it isn't enough that he has to like the woman of his desires, she has to be rich, or be in some kind of high class standing, for him to be remotely interested. And he wants the finer things in li There may not be a lot in plot, but Room at the Top has a whole lot in character, and that character is Joe Lampton.
And he wants the finer things in life, who doesn't? He's also a jealous type, envious of any guy who is richer, which means better, than him. But for all that Joe himself is worth, we know and can understand where he comes from, based on his humble beginnings and provincial life that he so diligently wants to leave behind. And he'll be shady, sneaky, judgemental, and weasel his way to the top in any way he can. Joe is such a hoot, so shady, so silly, and so ridiculous, that he's as loveable as he's very much annoying and despicable.
All the other characters are relatable, because they feel the same as how we feel about Joe. Some love him, some love him a lot, and some can't stand him, just like anyone who reads this book.
You'll either love him, or hate him. But you can't say that Joe Lampton is boring. As is the book itself. It's a hilarious novel, and is certainly one of the most memorable that I've ever read. Published in , Room at the Top is the story of young northern man with an enormous chip on his shoulder, as he tries to advance himself at work and socially in the most ruthless way that he can. The setting is immediately post-war and the chip on his shoulder comes from his perception of the ways in which class distinction work in Britain.
This makes for a terrific story, together with added details such as the unavoidable impact of post-war rationing on all - a detail omitted from many of t Published in , Room at the Top is the story of young northern man with an enormous chip on his shoulder, as he tries to advance himself at work and socially in the most ruthless way that he can.
This makes for a terrific story, together with added details such as the unavoidable impact of post-war rationing on all - a detail omitted from many of the dramatic presentations of the story over the years because of their contemporary setting.
Brilliant, and has not dated at all. Oct 15, Owain Lewis rated it really liked it.
Joe Lampton has to be one of the great characters of post war fiction: Braine writes Lampton's experiences almost like a memoir, with ocassional references to the fact that he's got what he wanted, or at least what he thought he wanted - always in the background there's the sense of something missed or lost entirely but it's not quite regret.
It's a sad book full of people trapped by the cages of class and reputation, with brief moments of escape, whic Joe Lampton has to be one of the great characters of post war fiction: It's a sad book full of people trapped by the cages of class and reputation, with brief moments of escape, which only makes it more devastating when the trap closes again.