Saville Summary

Summary (Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Saville is a rich and detailed chronicle, an ambitious undertaking that tracks the progress of Colin Saville, the eldest son of a coal miner, from the 1930’s through the 1950’s and over the span of more than five hundred pages. It is regarded as Storey’s most significant work, and it won the prestigious Man Booker Prize, Britain’s top literary award for fiction.

The Saville family lives in the coal-mining district of Yorkshire. Colin’s father, Harry Saville, leads a life of backbreaking work in the coal pits. Harry hopes for something more for his sons, Colin, Steven, and Richard, but especially for Colin, whose education is a matter of priority. Harry is good-natured but also ignorant and slow-witted. The mother is somewhat depressed and lethargic, and the brothers are distant and unmotivated. Ironically, Colin’s success pulling himself out of the coal-mining life and into a career as a teacher and poet creates resentment and bitterness in the family he leaves behind.

The story is realistic and objective, written in third-person voice. Despite that, the perception borders on first person, as every episode puts Colin at the center and all other characters are defined in terms of his relation to them—his father, his mother, or his brothers, for example. Nothing in the narrative is outside his direct experience. However, there is an important exception, for the novel begins some years before Colin’s birth. The first chapter and most of the second chapter deal with the birth and early life of Andrew, the son who died six months before Colin was born.

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(The entire section is 651 words.)

Saville Bibliography (Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Bygrave, Mike. “David Storey: Novelist or Playwright?” Theatre Quarterly 1 (April-June, 1971): 31-36.

Free, William. “The Ironic Anger of David Storey.” Modern Drama 16 (December, 1973): 307-316.

Hutchings, William. The Plays of David Storey: A Thematic Study. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1988.

Hutchings, William, ed. David Storey: A Casebook. New York: Garland, 1992.

Jackson, Dennis, and Wendy Perkins. “David Storey.” In British Novelists Since 1960. Vol. 207 in Dictionary of Literary Biography. Detroit: Gale Group, 1999.

Kalson, Albert. “Insanity and the Rational Man in the Plays of David Storey.” Modern Drama 19 (June, 1976): 111-128.

Kerensky, Oleg. “David Storey.” In The New British Drama: Fourteen Playwrights Since Osborne and Pinter. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1977.

Liebman, Herbert. The Dramatic Art of David Storey: The Journey of a Playwright. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1996.

Pittock, Malcolm. “David Storey and Saville: A Revaluation.” Forum for Modern Language Studies 32, no. 3 (1996): 208-227.

Pittock, Malcolm. “Revaluing the Sixties: The Sporting Life Revisited.” Forum for Modern Language Studies 26, no. 2 (1990): 96-108.

Quigley, Austin E. “The Emblematic Structure and Setting of David Storey’s Plays.” Modern Drama 22 (September, 1979): 259-276.

Rees, Jasper. “The Last of the Angry Young Men.” Independent, July 14, 1998, p. 10.

Taylor, John Russell. “David Storey.” In The Second Wave . London: Methuen, 1971.

Taylor, John Russell. David Storey. In Vol. 239 of Writers and Their Work, edited by Ian Scott-Kilbert. London: Longman Group, 1974.