The Lowlife


By Alexander Baron

Introduction By Iain Sinclair

Harryboy Boas is a gambling man - the dogs. He lives in the quietly respectable streets of Hackney and keeps himself to himself. Until, that is, a new family moves into his building. Step by step, the life he has led - with its own strange kind of order - begins to unravel. He is drawn into a murky underworld where violence and revenge stalk those who can't come up with the money. 

Alexander Baron grew up in London's East End. The son of a Jewish immigrant, he became involved in left-wing politics during the 1930s and was active in opposing the Fascism rife in the East End at the time. He joined the army in 1940, and it was his experiences in the Second World War that gave him the material for his first novel, From the City, From the Plough. Other novels explore London life and historical themes, and he also wrote Hollywood screenplays and BBC television dramas and adaptations. Carl Foreman's classic war film The Victors(1963) was based on Baron's The Human Kind. He died in 1999. 

Lyrical, comic, truly original - TLS

A beautifully observed, understated study of an East End Jewish gambler...something of an underground cult classic- Guardian

Harryboy is a delicious and irrepressible companion...a tale as English as it is Jewish but with all the old Jewish virtues, humour, conscience and realism...It is what Harryboy would have wished - a winner - Sunday Times

For all its hard and cunning realism this is an exceptionally moving book...a very fine piece of sensitive fiction as well as a tough slice of life...a very funny, racy book with a lot of insight - Books and Bookmen

Exceedingly funny - Yorkshire Post