A giant in build, handsome, and not at all stupid, Moleskin Joe was a superman among his navvy brethren. In a manner he was a noteworthy individual, and his fame as a fighter, a worker and even a drinker, was known to most inmates of shacks and doss-houses up and down the country.
Moleskin Joe is one of the most memorable characters to appear in Patrick MacGill’s first two novels, Children of the Dead End and The Rat-Pit. This sequel, first published in 1923, recalls the tramps and navvies MacGill encountered during his time on the road in Scotland and north of England in the early years of the twentieth century. It centres around the adventures of Moleskin Joe, with his philosophy of ‘there’s a good time comin’, although we may never live to see it’, who in this book falls in love with a young Irish woman he meets on his travels.
Filled with superb characterisation, humour, poignancy and eloquence, Moleskin Joe is a vivid portrayal of the hardships of the immigrant experience, which MacGill not only endured himself, but also successfully exposed to a huge audience through his writing.
Praise for Patrick MacGill:
'Patrick MacGill writes with great power, clarity, passion and humour' The Guardian