Storey began his career as a novelist during the 1950’s, writing several novels before finally seeing both Flight into Camden and This Sporting Life published in 1960. Arthur Machin, the central character of This Sporting Life, is a professional rugby player, as Storey himself had been. Rugby is his life. Inside it, he knows his place and takes some pride in what he can do, but outside it he cannot fully relate to anyone. He is aware that two powerful, moneyed men in the mill town that hosts the rugby team dictate the terms of his life. Mr. Weaver and Mr. Slomer, mutual enemies, make things difficult, since deference toward one may be taken as a slight by the other. Launching what could become a lucrative, if short-lived, career in the hard-hitting, brutal sport of rugby, Arthur becomes beholden to Mr. Weaver in several ways, including receiving money advances and automobiles from him.
Standing outside the rugby world is another significant character: Arthur’s landlady, the widow Mrs. Hammond. Arthur rents a room from her when he first joins the team. He helps her with chores and with her two young children, Lynde and Ian. Eventually he seduces her. They begin a regular sexual routine. Yet, he is never quite able to sort out his relationship with her. He stays as her boarder long after he could afford better lodging. He buys her trinkets, a television, a fur coat, and other valuables, making her feel like a kept woman. She...
(The entire section is 445 words.)