The Green Years
A. J. Cronin
Originally published in 1945, The Green Years is one of A J Cronin’s best-loved novels. It tells the story of Robert Shannon, a young Irish Catholic boy, who, orphaned at the age of seven, is brought to live with his mother’s estranged family in Scotland. As he grows up in a dour Presbyterian town, only his great-grandfather, an incorrigible, swaggering, charming, larger-than-life character, seems able to rescue him from the narrow interests of the people who try to shape his life in their own image.
Disappointed in love and in his burning ambition to study medicine, the eighteen-year-old Robert sees his future as a blank wall. But, once again, he is saved from despair by his fiery relative, much to the chagrin of the rest of the family.
This compassionate story of a boy’s growth to manhood, set against the harsh reality of life at the turn of the century, shows A J Cronin at his masterly best, creating a vivid gallery of characters with his customary blend of imagination, insight and tenderness.
In the magnificent narrative tradition of The Citadel, The Stars Look Down and Cronin’s other classic novels, The Green Years is a great book by a much-loved author