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Summary

Life is tough and cheerless for Billy Casper, a troubled teenager growing up in the small Yorkshire mining town of Barnsley. Treated as a failure at school, and unhappy at home, Billy discovers a new passion in life when he finds Kes, a kestrel hawk.

Billy identifies with her silent strength, and she inspires in him the trust and love that nothing else can, discovering through her the passion missing from his life.

Barry Hines' acclaimed novel continues to reach new generations of teenagers and adults with its powerful story of survival in a tough, joyless world.

©1999 Barry Hines (P)2016 Isis Publishing Ltd

What listeners say about A Kestrel for a Knave

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  • Overall
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  • mj
  • 22-05-18

A brilliant story

Poor Billy, what a lad. Great story, well narrated and nice to have the notes at the end

1 person found this helpful

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Superb.

My first encounter with this book was many years ago, studying English Literature we touched many of the classics, this being one. I loved it then, bought the book for my collection and of course watched the movie. I really enjoyed being taken back, a superbly written book, great story and well narrated. Recommend this classic any day.

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Just as wonderful as I remember

I loved this book when I had to read it at school. So wonderful to hear it read in a Northern accent, it was just magical and brought the book to life. You really feel for Billy throughout the descriptions of his hard family life, having no PE kit, not wearing underpants, corporal punishment at school and a bully of a brother. Nowadays safeguarding children would be called to intervene. I loved Billy's spirit, his determination and drive to achieve his goal of training a kestrel. His teacher who was impressed enough to watch him fly Kes. His kind words boosting Billy's confidence and self esteem. I felt like he was the only one who actively took a interest in Billy. Truly a wonderful listen, I would recommend to everyone.

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tenderly written, an amazing book

I have heard of this book (and film) since I was a kid but somehow I never thought it was for me. But I was completely gripped, the writing is spare and seems to hit you more with what is NOT said.... the reader was excellent too. I live near Barnsley and found the local dialect well done. The sort of book I will be thinking about for a long time

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I've not read literature since school

this takes me back to English literature at school in the mid 90s where we consumed all the classics, I wish this could have been one of them., it's so well written I felt as though I could relate to how the pe teacher would treat the less able kids,.how harsh life can be as a lonely kid growing up under difficult circumstances but finding amongst all the myre an outlet that have him some enjoyment. i hope the author Barry reads these reviews on Amazon and cherishes them as this is a true classic up there with Angela's ashes or of mice and men...

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Excellent read

I have loved every moment of this book. It was gripping and beautifully descriptive. This book is a definite must-read and I rate it as one of my most enjoyed books. The writing style makes easy reading and the flow makes it an addictive read.

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Brilliant movie, even more brilliant book

Heartbreakingly wonderful depiction of life in poverty in England in the 60s/early 70s - glides with hope and swoops into despair and all completely believable. This is Billy's story and so it is a bit hard on his brother and mother but its truth is Billy's. I loved the moment when the career guidance officer calls him William - he is not a William, he is Billy. I read it as a teen in school and while I know it has metaphors flying through it, it has always been just Billy's story for me. The movie has been a powerful influence on the book - it was great to just be with the book and the story to emerge past David Bradley's super embodiment of the character and indeed Ken Loach's interpretations. That said, Billy's mother with always be Ivy Tilsley for me!

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Great book and film

Would you listen to A Kestrel for a Knave again? Why?

Yes because I love this book

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Kestrel for a Knave?

When mr farthing watched billy fly the hawk and the sports teacher mr sugdens football game

What does Gareth Bennett Ryan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Great accents

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It's sad in places but a great listen

Any additional comments?

No

1 person found this helpful