A Pocketful of Rye Author:A. J. Cronin Dr. Laurence Carroll is a familiar character to those who read and enjoyed A. J. Cronin's last book, "A Song of Sixpence". He emerges again in "A Pocketful of Rye" - feckless, irreverent, living in the moment and squandering a not inconsiderable medical talent in a sinecural post in a small Swiss clinic. But the events which occur and the peop... more »le that Dr. Carroll meets along the way serve to lead him back to himself, to the revelation of a truth, and to a surprising resolution-through roads never before imagined.
As physician in charge of the Maybelle, a small clinic outside of Zurich, Dr. Laurence Carroll had little to deal with from day to day. The Matron, also in charge, sometimes eyed Carroll with suspicion-her button eyes filled with a glint of that jocular malice that so often passed for humor. But he ignored her, and they operated the Maybelle at a respectful and amicable distance from one another.
Young children would come to the clinic for treatment and would leave, some expressing their thanks-most not bothering to or knowing how. These, too, were dealt with indifferently by the doctor and quickly forgotten. All except a young boy named Danny Davigan.
Arriving with his mother Cathy, whose beauty and vivaciousness had brightened Carroll's youth in Scotland, young Danny Davigan becomes the focus of a startling, an almost devastating truth. Cathy and Danny take up residence in the Maybelle's guest chalet. They weave about themselves a web of circumstance that makes "A Pocketful of Rye" an unusual novel of cunning and conscience, life and the struggle to continue living, and the sadness of love all but forgotten in the wake of days gone by.« less
In this novel Dr. Cronin continues the story, that began as A Song of Sixpence, of a young man as he reaches adulthood as a doctor. He is certainly not the pious person of his youth. This is an interesting examination as to how one small infraction leads to another as the hero gradually builds a house of cards and watches it collapse. His character is also somewhat Jeckel and Hydemuch of the novel portrays his dark side. Can he ever resurrect his former self?