A Song of Sixpence Author:A. J. Cronin A Song of Sixpence has the warmth and unassuming honesty of Dr. Cronin's earlier work, "Hatter's Castle","The Stars Look Down" and "The Citadel", yet it shows his matured skill in the masterful portrayal of the engaging Laurence Carroll, who is, in many respects, Dr. Cronin himself. — Set in the beautiful western highlands of Scotland, the story ... more »revolves around the innocent youth whose very naivete is a target for the complex currents of his social surroundings...the bigotry of the Scottish Protestants, the rigid class consciousness. Laurie is an outsider. The only child of a middle-class Catholic couple, he suffers the pangs of isolation in a staunchly Puritan town.
The young boy's fortress in the bittersweet days of youth is his sensitive and attractive mother, until the press of circumstances separates the two. With his father's death Laurence finds himself launched onto a new phase of forced independence. Into the story enters a cast of relative who, willingly or out of a sense of obligation, take the boy into their lives. There is the well-intentioned Bernard and his raucous family, the eccentric but kindly Miss Greville, and Uncle Leo, living like an ascetic but hoarding a fortune. The longings of adolescence, triggered by the dashing image of his cousin Terrence and the provocative but unpredictible Nora, are also woven into the thematic scheme. The boy's unsophitication leads him through a comedy of errors which is his undoing, yet which saves him ultimately from a lamentable existence in the aisles of Leo's warehouse.
A Song of Sixpence, enriched by Cronin's vivid childhood memories, reaches toward the underlying truths of existence with a tender and sympathetic understanding of the marvel that is man.« less