A Kestrel for a Knave

A Kestrel for a Knave Penguin Decades bring you the novels that helped shape modern Britain When they were published some were bestsellers some were considered scandalous and others were simply misunderstood All represe

  • Title: A Kestrel for a Knave
  • Author: Barry Hines
  • ISBN: 9780141041704
  • Page: 190
  • Format: Paperback
  • Penguin Decades bring you the novels that helped shape modern Britain When they were published, some were bestsellers, some were considered scandalous, and others were simply misunderstood All represent their time and helped define their generation, while today each is considered a landmark work of storytelling.Barry Hines s A Kestrel for a Knave was published in 1968, aPenguin Decades bring you the novels that helped shape modern Britain When they were published, some were bestsellers, some were considered scandalous, and others were simply misunderstood All represent their time and helped define their generation, while today each is considered a landmark work of storytelling.Barry Hines s A Kestrel for a Knave was published in 1968, and was made into one of the key British films of the sixties Billy Casper is beaten by his drunken brother, ignored by his mother and failing at school He seems destined for a hard, miserable life down the pits, but for a brief time, he finds one pleasure in life a wild kestrel that he has raised and tamed himself.
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    558 Comment

    • Jean says:

      When I was a child I used to live in a large city in the North of England. One day I was told that my brother, whom I idolised but who had moved to the bright lights of London, was going to pay us a flying visit. Apparently there was a new film which he wanted to see, and it was to be premièred - unusually - in the North. The film was "Kes".I was pleased, but a little puzzled, when he took me along with him to one of the biggest cinemas in the middle of the city. I was then disappointed to find [...]

    • Becky says:

      Ok, so I simply don't understand some people. Now I'm adding 'people who have given kestrel for a knave fewer than four star reviews' to the list of people I don't understand. They seem to be missing the point. So the book, I would not advise anyone looking for a comfortable reading experience to pick this one up, it is uncomfortable from the start. The life it describes is bleak and heartbreakingly deprived. Billy Casper quite literally has nothing, his brother (with whom he has to share a bed) [...]

    • Emma says:

      A wonderfully raw picture of Northern life. It's bleak and gritty, and written extremely well. Billy Casper is one of life's underdogs, he bears the brunt of everyone's exasperation with their own lives. This includes his bullying brother, his selfish mother, his fellow pupils at school and most of the teachers. He lives for his hawk and Kes is a metaphor for how free he wishes he were. It's a marvellous book and I couldn't recommend it more. It makes me proud to hail from South Yorkshire.

    • Ray says:

      A slim volume outlining the life of a young lad in the North of England in the 60s. A tale of gritty realism.Billy Caspar is bullied at home and at school. He lives on a rough council estate with his mother and brother, his father having walked out long ago. A succession of "Uncles" flit through his and his mothers life. Money is very tight, and occasional petty thievery is one way of getting by. Billy is disinterested in school and the teachers have essentially written him off as pit fodder (En [...]

    • Robert says:

      It took me 40p to get truely involved in this story - approx. 1/4 of the book. That quarter sets the background for what is to come in the remainder, when the protagonist, Billy, goes to school and one day shows the hilarity, banality, hopelessness and tragedy that surely will be a microcosm of Billy's whole life.For me, school was not nearly so grim as for Billy, but I could relate strongly to his experience; casual cruelty (from teachers), injustice, bullying, that one teacher who is still cap [...]

    • Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance says:

      A Kestrel for a Knave is a day in the very difficult life of a young man in a terribly poor part of England. Billy finds little happiness---not at home with his mother and brother, not at school with his (mostly) cruel teachers and taunting peers---in his life. It is only when he trains a hawk that he feels peace. Because I work with many, many children who come from the 2017 American version of the main characters in Kestrel, I found the story to be like walking with a poor kid for a whole day. [...]

    • martin says:

      My nephew and then my niece recently read this for their GCSEs and both hated it. The exact opposite reaction to their Mother and two Uncles. Maybe it's a generation gap thing - especially as our childhood was less comfortable and therefore maybe a little closer to that of the child in the novelIt's still one of my all time favourites.

    • Anne says:

      A masterpiece - why have I not read this before now??

    • YorkshireSue says:

      An absolute favourite of mine. I'm dating myself but it was recommended for our O level English Literature and I fell totally in love with it. It broke all the rules I understood about writing and is so gritty yet heartwrenching. No chapters just a sit down straight through read. As skinny and forthright as Billy Casper himself. You won't regret reading it (just try finding it!)

    • Lostaccount says:

      A boy who doesn't have the ability to articulate his pain finds solace in nature. It's a kitchen sink drama that is elevated by the moving depiction of Billy's "silent" suffering. I feel a bit ambivalent about this book. On the one hand, I was moved by the fatherless, friendless, semi-literate Billy Casper's plight, the cruelty he suffers, his isolation, his struggle living in poverty with a cruel brother (Jud) and a cold unsympathetic tart of a mother. I could identify with him, having grown up [...]

    • Pete daPixie says:

      'A Kestrel for a Knave' is very close to home for me. It's author, Barry Hines is a native of my local landscape. The council estate setting reminds me of my childhood years. The British education system of the 1950's and 1960's is starkly portrayed with a clarity that evokes it's regimented ranks of private canings, corporal punishments and major failings. There were very many personal memories that resurfaced while reading this book. I knew many a Billy Casper. The home life too was familiar. [...]

    • Bettie☯ says:

      False alarum - came across this book as a youngster (can't say "when I was smaller" because I didn't grow much further). I remember crying like a real cry baby at the injustice of it all and then the film was on at the local odeon and cried some more. It starred the lad who played Oliver in Lionel Bart's brilliant rendition of Dickens's masterpiece.So pretty much done and dusted.

    • Cherie says:

      I loved this book. I saw the movie a long time ago, and came across the book by accident.

    • Jo Verity says:

      I read this straight after reading 'H is for Hawk'. I've never read it before or seen 'Kes' but I was interested to see how the two books compared. I'm afraid I got a lot more from Barry Hines's short novel. Fictional schoolboy Billy Casper loves and depends on his kestrel in the same way Helen MacDonald depended on Mabel. But I could empathise with Billy, feel his pain, far more readily than with H M. there is one passage where Billy explains to his (only sympathetic) teacher and classmates how [...]

    • Hobb Whittons says:

      Reading Barry Hines' classic again was something of a revelation. Before I started, I couldn't help wondering if the effect it had had on me thirty odd years ago could possibly be repeated, since I'm now what my son describes as a 'grumpy old man' (harsh, I feel, but I do get his drift). Anyway, 'A Kestrel For A Knave' did it all over again for me; in fact, I think it dug deeper into my gut than ever. The panorama of 'colours'(some beautiful beyond description, others enough to burn out your eye [...]

    • Steve Shilstone says:

      Beautifully written, sort of a Jack London and Roddy Doyle mixture.

    • Galine says:

      This book left me gutted.It's about how misunderstood and alone youth can feel in the world, and the importance of compassion, empathy & understanding in a world that severely lacks such qualities.

    • Valancourt Books says:

      Now available:HardcoverWebsite | USPaperbackWebsite | USeBookWebsite | US

    • Alisa says:

      By gum, but Yorkshire is bleak. I've had this book for several years, and I've always put off reading it, because why would I want to be that depressed. Not only is it going to be poor, and bleak, and stunted, and deprived, and mean, there's going to be an wild animal that is the heart and soul and light for one of these inarticulate tragedies of DNA. And what does that mean for that animal, so the author can keep a realistic vision of a relentlessly hard-life, smashed on broken homes, bottles a [...]

    • Winered200 says:

      I was moved through this entire book. I did not cry though, not once, not even at the ending. This book is raw and you feel for Billy. Sometimes even relate. He just has the entire world against him(except for that one nice teacher) and all he wants is to be left alone. He's a target, an easy one it seems like, but he does not ever back down when he's picked at. As mentioned in an early "review" of the book I had a hard time adjusting to the speaking language, but I found myself after 50 pages o [...]

    • Bob says:

      Originally called A Kestrel for a Knave, a medieval poetic reference, the simplified title of Kes for the film version now goes on the cover while the title page retains the original.My second-hand copy includes this inscription from giver to recipient- "Dear Andy, This is not marvelous literature but it is valid social comment."Very much in the vein of Alan Sillitoe or Stan Barstow, the story is a cheerless picture of Northern English working class life in a council estate in the 60s. The main [...]

    • Keith says:

      First read this at school - now over 40 years ago and it was probably my first 'serious' book.There is no praise high enough for this book. A searing look at the working class in the Yorkshire mining village of Barnsley, where hope has been virtually extinguished for a teenage boy until a kestrel comes into his life. Be aware there is Yorkshire dialect, but don't be put off.if anything the Ken Loach film is better than the book and is highly recommended. It pulls no punches in its depiction of l [...]

    • Robbie Haigh-mclane says:

      I had an urge whilst drifting through a not-so exciting read to read a classic. I stumbled in my mind on thoughts of English literature at school. Read the book, watch the film, dissect the characters etc etc. A kestrel for a knave was my choice. I tried to establish the message in the text and the words that arise from the story. I'd have almost love to read a prequel of the troubles and strife Billy and Jud's upbringing, father(s), mothers background and friendships or lack of them. As a fello [...]

    • James MacIntyre says:

      "Slack work lad, slack work.""Hands off cocks, on socks.""Where's me pillocking bike?"Aims in life: 1) Be a teacher like Mr Farthing.2) Don't be a teacher like Mr Sugden.

    • Carla says:

      Rarely do I feel such agonising empathy for a character as I did for Billy Casper; and this, after watching the movie first. This book is like a raw wound.

    • Rosemary says:

      Painful story of a boy growing up on a deprived northern estate in the 1960s, and the hawk who became his only companion.A tough read because I just wanted to take Billy out of that situation.

    • Bill Kendall says:

      Billy finds a spark that creates warm glow in his difficult life. The reader is provided with hope that the world is inherently a good place, and that Billy will thrive with his passion for falconry. This is of course destroyed by an unpleasant older brother. The moral of this story is don't piss off your older brother or he will make your life hell.Also I was on the train going to work when things became unsavoury. I went to work feeling pretty down about the Kestrel and the Knave and things di [...]

    • Kaethe says:

      Too bleak for me

    • Bernadette Robinson says:

      3.5 stars rather than 3. This is the book that the film Kes was based on. I've seen the film many times over the years but I sadly can't remember a lot about it. When I was given the chance to read the book recently it was like a blast from the past. The book was well written and was very reminiscent of the years that it was set in, the late 60's. The story takes place in one day and is told in real time with a series of flashbacks in time. It's a classic and a thought provoking slow burner.Bill [...]

    • Nikki says:

      I think the other English group read A Kestrel for a Knave, back at GCSE, but it never really appealed to me. Still, it was there today at the library, so I picked it up. It's pretty short, and there are no chapters. It's kind of an odd format to tell a story, just like maybe a boy is sat down and spilling out his story without thinking of how to structure it. Which makes sense, of course, considering the main character. It's pretty grim, too. Working class life in England back when teachers cou [...]

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