The first novel by John Braine (b. 1922), published in 1957, and regarded as an exemplar of the Angry Young Men genre. Set in the north of England, with the working-class protagonist Joe Lampton ruthlessly climbing the social ladder by seducing and marrying Susan Browne, the factory-owner's daughter, and abandoning an older woman whom he actually does love; she tragically dies of drink. A 1962 sequel to the book was called Life at the Top.

Room at the Top was made into a film in 1959, directed by Jack Clayton. It starred Laurence Harvey, Simone Signoret, Heather Sears, Hermione Baddeley, and Allan Cuthbertson, and included a presumably very young Wendy Craig. Signoret and the screenwriter Neil Paterson won Oscars for it.

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