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.
An enduring work of English fiction, Barry Hines's bestseller A Kestrel for a Knave (1968) has never been out of print in Great Britain, where both the book and Ken Loach's film adaptation Kes (1969) have long been regarded as classics. This edition, the first ever published in the United States, will allow American readers to discover this timeless and moving novel.
'A masterpiece ... Billy Casper is as memorable a young character as any post-war writer has created.' - Glasgow Herald
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