Beyond This Place by A J Cronin – Book Review

beyond this place by a j cronin

I have a lot of unread books that has been stored inside the cupboard for more than six months. Somehow most of these books doesn’t seem to excite me like the new books I see in the library or book shops.

Beyond This Place by A J Cronin is one of the books that had sat in my to-read pile for almost an year. I have a 1953 edition of the book and the outer cover was already gone when I got it from a second hand book shop. The books looks worn out, used and all brown, but the pages are all fine. It felt good when I was holding a book that was printed almost 60 years ago.
Beyond This Place is another simple book by A J Cronin with a simple story line. I would say that it was quite an ordinary read, but then an ordinary book by A J Cronin is itself a joy to read. I finished this book within 2 days, so you cannot calling it boring at all…
Paul Mathry grew up believing that his father died when he was very young, but his mother couldn’t hold back the truth from him for long. His father Rees Mathry is a convicted murderer who will be spending the rest of his life in prison. This knowledge devastates Paul, but he has also a burning desire to meet his father of whom he has very cherished memories from childhood. Rees Mathry was convicted for assaulting and murdering a woman of questionable character.The local police and a prosecutor Sir Matthew Sprott was too eager to get the gallows that they totally ignored the innocent pleas of Rees. Rees Mathry’s death sentence was later changed to a life sentence and he has been serving the same in a prison where visitors are not allowed.
Paul decides to learn more about his father’s case by checking out with the local library and speaking to the witnesses. He finds a lots of flaws in the evidence against his father. Also he learns that there are a lot of people who don’t want him prodding into the case. They just want him to let the case die just like the slow death that his father has been undergoing in the prison for the past 15 years. But Paul is determined to save his father from the living hell…But how ?
My Thoughts
Beyond This Place is a simple story of a determined young man who is convinced of his father’s innocence in a murder and wants to bring out his father from the living hell that he has been subjected to for the past 15 years. But his journey is not at all smooth. Oppositions from all side including the police, lack of money even to buy food etc is driving him to the edge. This is a well written story of perseverance and great thinking.
The character of Lena Anderson who takes care of Paul even in his most desperate state is depicted as a sensible person. Probably Lena is the foremost reason why Paul was able to get justice for his father.
A J Cronin has taken care not to make a complex case out of Paul Mathry’s life. He has tried to keep the narration as simple as possible, yet very interesting. None of the portions have been stretched beyond what is required and this itself makes it a quick and interesting read.
My verdict: Recommended highly for a light and interesting read :)

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