Synopses & Reviews
Published in 1901 and described by George Douglas Brown as a brutal and bloody work , this bestselling classic was a furious response to what Brown called sentimental slop the representation of Scotland as a cozy rural idyll. It is probably semi-autobiographical Brown was illegitimate and rejected by his father and the village of Barbie is loosely based on Ochiltree in Ayrshire. The brutish John Gourlay is a merchant in the village of Barbie, envied and resented by the villagers because of his success, which is symbolized in his prestigious house with green shutters. He dominates and bullies his family, in particular his sensitive, gifted but weak son. Ultimately, his refusal to acknowledge the arrival of the railway and to adapt to the increasing industrialization of Ayrhire precipitates murder, suicide, and his family's tragic downfall.
About the Author
George Douglas Brown was born in 1869 in Ayrshire. The illegitimate son of a local farmer, he was raised by his mother. He gained a bursary to the University of Glasgow and later a scholarship to Balliol College, Oxford. After his mother's death, Brown moved to London and began a career in journalism. He contributed to a variety of journals and, in the autumn of 1900, began writing The House with the Green Shutters, which was favorably received and compared to Balzac and Stevenson. Aged only 33, he died of pneumonia in 1902.