Saturday, 21 March 2009

A Boy and His Bird

Have finished A Kestrel for a Knave by Barry Hines.

Short but powerful. I really felt the cold, the hunger, the loneliness of the kind of boy that Billy was - a teenager growing up in a 1960s mining town in northern England. You felt the desperate need he had to love and be loved - and to throw everything he had into raising his kestrel, because really, it was the only thing he had.

This passage, describing how Billy looked after a fight with a fellow student, really moved me:

"For an instant, as he hurried into the showers, with one leg angled in running, with his dirty legs and huge rib cage moulding the skin of his white body, with his hollow cheek in profile, and the sabre of shadow emanating from the eye hole, just for a moment he resembled an old print of a child hurrying toward the final solution."
Beautiful and haunting and accurate.
Next up: Tom Brown's Schooldays by Thomas Hughes.


  1. The film Kes was also pretty good. I'm waiting to read a novel called A gorilla for a queen.

  2. I've never heard of this author or book--hmmm. I'm glad you're introducing me to new material. Well, new to me... :) Have a good weekend, tootz.