The Hatter’s Castle by A.J Cronin

Written by Gracie Cooper. Posted in Books

The first novel by A.J Cronin, The Hatter’s Castle, was at the same time one of his best books. The immediate success of the book helped Cronin in the decision to permanently abandon his first occupation and to devote entirely to his vocation as a writer.

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The book impresses not necessarily by the tragic events, but by the brevity and accuracy with which the characters were draw by the brush of a great master: the evil force of the main character, the weakness and cowardice of a mother who fear has suppressed her any maternal instinct and any impulse to protect her children; the frightened but grumbling grandmother; Mary, the profile of 17 years teenage girl, excited by the thrill of first love; Nessie, the traumatized child, crushed under the authority’s heel of a desensitized father and reduced from the status of a person with its own will, to that of a ghostly shadow that with each day that passes, dissipates more into nonexistence. And not finally, Matt, the son full of weaknesses and vices, unable, because of past abuses, to assume the status of man and to free his mother and sisters from the tyranny of his father.

One of the main methods used for drawing the characters is dialogue, which abounds throughout The Hatter’s Castle. The description of gestures, mimics, behaviors and mannerisms, and the emotional expressions of the characters, which through repetition and consistency have been imprinted on their face in the form of permanent features, completes the picture.