Barry Hines's A KESTREL FOR A KNAVE (1968) has been a mainstay in British classrooms for decades, and it's been translated into every language from Polish to Japanese; the film version, Kes (1969), is universally regarded as one of the top British films of all time. But for some reason Hines's classic novel has never been published in America until now. This edition includes a new introduction by Mark Hodkinson and a gorgeous cover by Tom Duxbury!
Billy Casper is a fifteen-year-old with no future, growing up in poverty and seemingly destined to follow his older brother into a life of toil in the coal mines. Life at home is hard: his father has left, his mother's main interest is in picking up men at the pub, and his brother bullies him mercilessly. Nor are things better at school, where Billy is tormented by the other kids and treated as a troublemaker by the teachers. But a spark of hope enters Billy's lonely existence when he discovers a young kestrel hawk, Kes, and learns to train it. Billy gives to Kes all the love and devotion he has been denied, and in the hawk's silent strength and fierce independence he finds inspiration and the courage to survive.
'A masterpiece ... Billy Casper is as memorable a young character as any post-war writer has created.' - Glasgow Herald
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*Valancourt edition available only in the US