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Neil Gunn: Young Art and Old Hector

This book can barely be called a novel for it is really a joyous celebration of the relationship of a young Scottish lad, Art, and an old man, Hector. Art gets on well enough with his family, looking up in particular to his brother, Donul, but at times they can be a nuisance, particularly the women, and when his mother has another baby – Henry James – things become even more trying. But, whenever things go wrong Old Hector is there to comfort him. Old Hector lives with his daughter, Agnes, and is long since retired but still always has time for Art. They go for walks together, consider poaching and when Hector and his friends are making illegal whiskey, it is Art who warns them of the gaugers, the customs officers. Not much happens but the relationship between the old man and the boy is wonderfully told.

Publishing history

First published 1942 by Faber and Faber