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The House with the Green Shutters   By: (1869-1902)

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In George Douglas Brown's novel, The House with the Green Shutters, readers are transported to the small, fictitious Scottish town of Barbie, where the grim reality of human nature unfolds against a backdrop of picturesque landscapes. Set in the late nineteenth century, the story centers around the character of John Gourlay, the proud proprietor of the titular house.

From the very beginning, Brown masterfully presents a vivid depiction of the austere and desolate atmosphere that permeates Barbie. The bleakness of the town serves as an allegory for the characters' emotional states, as they struggle to navigate through the harsh, unforgiving landscape. The author's evocative language allows readers to feel the biting wind and hear the distant cries of the seagulls, creating an immersive reading experience.

One of the novel's strengths lies in its exploration of human nature, particularly the dark side of it. Through the character of John Gourlay, Brown crafts a complex and morally ambiguous individual who embodies the relentless pursuit of wealth and power. Gourlay's obsession with material possessions and social status drives him to manipulate everyone around him, even his own family. It is fascinating to witness the extent to which Gourlay is willing to go to secure his place in society, despite the devastating consequences his actions have on those closest to him.

Brown's prose is both eloquent and stark, mirroring the contrasts between Barbie's natural beauty and the inner turmoil of its residents. His writing style effectively captures the essence of small-town life, where gossip and whispers spread like wildfire, and reputation becomes the ultimate currency. The author's attention to detail and his keen observations of human behavior render the characters remarkably realistic and multi-faceted.

While some may find the storyline slow-paced at times, this deliberate pacing allows readers to delve deep into the psyche of the characters and fully comprehend the underlying themes of societal expectations and the pursuit of happiness. Furthermore, the novel's shocking climax offers a powerful reflection on the consequences of a life driven solely by ambition and greed.

The House with the Green Shutters is a thought-provoking and timeless novel that effectively captures the complexities of human nature. George Douglas Brown's penetrating exploration of the human condition and his ability to create an atmospheric setting make this book a compelling read for those interested in character-driven narratives and social commentary. Despite its age, this classic still holds relevance and continues to resonate with readers today.

First Page:




[Illustration: Publisher's logo]

Thomas Nelson and Sons, Ltd. London, Edinburgh, and New York



The frowsy chambermaid of the "Red Lion" had just finished washing the front door steps. She rose from her stooping posture and, being of slovenly habit, flung the water from her pail straight out, without moving from where she stood. The smooth round arch of the falling water glistened for a moment in mid air. John Gourlay, standing in front of his new house at the head of the brae, could hear the swash of it when it fell. The morning was of perfect stillness.

The hands of the clock across "the Square" were pointing to the hour of eight. They were yellow in the sun.

Blowsalinda, of the Red Lion, picked up the big bass that usually lay within the porch, and carrying it clumsily against her breast, moved off round the corner of the public house, her petticoat gaping behind. Halfway she met the hostler, with whom she stopped in amorous dalliance. He said something to her, and she laughed loudly and vacantly. The silly tee hee echoed up the street.

A moment later a cloud of dust drifting round the corner, and floating white in the still air, showed that she was pounding the bass against the end of the house... Continue reading book >>

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