Updated: Jan 10, 2020
Barry Hines was born in Yorkshire just before the outbreak of World War Two. His work holds a mirror to the struggles of the working classes in both political and economic terms. He is probably best known for his novel A Kestrel for a Knave, which was made into the film Kes.
The key character is Billy Casper, a working class boy destined for life down the pit. He lives with his mother and older brother Jud. He is abused both at home and school and, although there is some comedy in the portrayal by Brian Glover of the PE teacher Mr. Sugden, it’s only amusing to those not on the receiving end of it. Sugden is a delusional bully. It would be good to think that such characters no longer exist in the 21st century but somehow, I doubt it.
Billy’s only release from the day to day grimness of his life is his interaction with a kestrel which he finds and trains. If you haven’t read this book, I really would recommend it.
Barry Hines last interview: