Archibald Joseph Cronin

The Stars Look Down

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First published in 1935, The Stars Look Down tells the story of a North Country mining community as its inhabitants make their way through the various social and political challenges of the early 20th century. Digging into workers’ rights, social change, and the relationship between labor and capitalism, the struggles of the novel’s trifecta of protagonists—politically minded miner David Fenwick, ambitious drifter Joe Gowlan, and frustrated yet meek mining-baron’s son Arthur Barras—remain compelling and relevant to readers in the 21st century.
The Stars Look Down is one of many tales of the hardships of coal-mining communities during the industrial pre-war, World War I, and interwar periods in Britain, but stands out for its unflinching prose, universal themes, and keen storytelling. The novel was adapted into a 1940 film starring Michael Redgrave as Davey Fenwick, is a New York Times Critics’ Pick, and is included in The New York Times Guide to the Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made.

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827 printed pages

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