A Kestrel for a Knave
A Kestrel for a Knave by Barry Hines
In the small Yorkshire mining town of Barnsley, life for Billy Casper is raw and tough. School is a daily hell of bullying and failure as even the teachers seem to turn on him. Home offers no reprieve with a disconnected parent and an angry and at time ruthless older brother. There a few pleasures in Billy’s life until he finds ‘Kes’, a kestrel hawk, and through her, Billy discovers there is passion and joy to be had in the world after all. Barry Hines’s intense prose paints a struggling world of poverty, shrinking opportunity and fading hopes. The story may seem grim, but it is one of the most powerful coming-of-age stories I have every read. There is joy and grief within the pages, and passages of exquisite beauty within the prose. A definite “must read”!
Barry Hines (b.1939) was born in the mining village of Hoyland Common, near Barnsley, South Yorkshire and as an adult, was a teacher in the same area – he knew Billy’s life well.
Barry Hines died in March 2016 – just one of the many creative, talented persons the world lost that year.