Wigtown Ploughman: Part of His Life
In following the growth into manhood of young Andy Walker, this novel provides a realistic depiction of the lives and living conditions of the rural laboring poor in Scotland in the 1930s. The son of an abusive father, Andy leaves school at age 13 and works for a succession of corrupt and cruel landowners. Driven from one estate for refusing to marry the mother of his illegitimate child, Andy drifts into a life of petty crime, all the time sinking further into a continuing cycle of violence and poverty. A chance encounter leads to the prospect of a professional boxing career, but realizing himself to be a true son of the soil, Andy returns to farm work, accepting his destiny with elegiac resignation. An uncompromisingly gritty tale filled with relentless violence and unrelieved squalor, its impact upon publication in 1938 was widespread and extraordinary as public reaction was sharply divided between those who loathed it and those who thought it true.