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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fine and authentic slice of late-mid twentieth century lower middle-class English life but the earlier volumes are better
This is the final instalment of Stan Barstow's well-regarded Vic Brown trilogy as the story of the eponymous working-class non-hero finally runs its course. In A Kind of Loving we were introduced to basically decent, but frustrated every-Englishman Vic Brown who struggles to adapt to adult life and feelings within the moral confines of a conservative, provincial Yorkshire...
Published on 30 Sept. 2008 by Trevor Coote

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
alright
Published 11 months ago by doreen gorton


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fine and authentic slice of late-mid twentieth century lower middle-class English life but the earlier volumes are better, 30 Sept. 2008
By 
Trevor Coote "Trevor Coote" (Tahiti, French Polynesia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Right True End (Black Swan) (Paperback)
This is the final instalment of Stan Barstow's well-regarded Vic Brown trilogy as the story of the eponymous working-class non-hero finally runs its course. In A Kind of Loving we were introduced to basically decent, but frustrated every-Englishman Vic Brown who struggles to adapt to adult life and feelings within the moral confines of a conservative, provincial Yorkshire town. Pressured into marrying local girl Ingrid when she becomes pregnant, in The Watchers on the Shore he then tries to make a real go of a marriage within which he is uncomfortable and unhappy. With a view to better providing for his family he takes a job down south but instead gets mixed up with the theatre crowd and meets Donna, the one girl who he feels is just right for him.
In The Right True End he is now successful and after a series of rather grubby affairs, he becomes determined to track down the only woman with whom he felt he had something real. This final book was written some 16 years after A Kind of Loving and it shows. Whereas the earlier books relied on atmosphere and details for a sense of time and place, this work is full of pointers and signposts. It is also written with a fashionable (seventies) crudity and as a result Vic Brown becomes less sympathetic and more laddish and self-centred. The dialogue and the relationships between Vic and his family and small circle of friends are still convincing and work very well. His experiences and feelings will be familiar to many young adults who flounder between adolescence and adulthood and between different social classes. It remains a fine and authentic slice of late-mid twentieth century lower middle-class English life but does not add a great deal to the earlier works.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine end to the Trilogy, 3 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Right True End (Paperback)
I don't agree with the review posted previously here, Vic does not become an unsympathetic character in any way, The Right True End is set in the 1970's - and it feels just right. It is in my view a fine work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finishing the story but just a little predictable., 3 Jan. 2013
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J. H. Mccarthy "Rex Glevi" (Gloucester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Right True End (Black Swan) (Paperback)
I have thoroughly enjoyed the trilogy and this is a very fitting end. The relationship of Donna's boy to Vic was probably clear from book two but even so the story builds in a wholly entertaining and suspenceful way. There books are brilliantly written and without doubt will harmonise with those readers in the 60 to 70 years age group; indicative of life and living from the mid 50s to the mid 70s. Stan barstow brings so much of my life (and probably of most readers) into a vivid memory and he factually portrays the relationships that are present in most families in those days both in Yorkshire and elsewhere in the North of England.
This trio of books is wonderful observation, escapism and to top it all has a happy ending! Go read them.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Right True End of Love, 23 Feb. 2015
By 
J C E Hitchcock (Tunbridge Wells, Kent, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Right True End (Black Swan) (Paperback)
“The Right True End” is the third and final instalment of what has become known as the “Vic Brown” trilogy, although it was not originally planned as such. Had Stan Barstow originally intended to write a trilogy, the first few chapters of this novel would doubtless have formed part of the second volume, “The Watchers on the Shore”, as they are set in the summer of 1963, immediately following the events described in that book. (The date can be ascertained from references to the Great Train Robbery and the Profumo scandal). Vic’s relationship with the actress Donna Pennyman is over, but he has nevertheless decided to bring his marriage to Ingrid to an end, even though she would have been prepared to forgive him and take him back. He travels back to his home town of Cressley to visit his ailing father, only to find that his family, who have sided with Ingrid over the break-up, do not exactly make him welcome.

It is sometimes thought that twentieth-century British society was more forgiving towards adultery when committed by a man than when committed by a woman. This may have been true among the upper classes, but not always so among other sectors of society; the working-class Browns regard it as a stain on the family honour that their son has abandoned his wife and might be named as the guilty party in their divorce. Even Vic’s older sister Christine, whom he has always regarded as more liberal than his parents, sides with them on this issue. (Christine’s pretensions to liberalism are later shown to be hollow when she and her husband announce that they are considering emigrating to South Africa, at this time under the apartheid regime).

Fast forward to the mid-seventies, when the real third instalment of Vic’s story begins. Vic is now a qualified engineer, living and working in London and rarely returning to Yorkshire. His divorce from Ingrid has long since been finalised, but he has not remarried, contenting himself with a series of largely loveless affairs. He is currently in a clandestine relationship with Miriam, the wife of a colleague. One reviewer complains that the older Vic seems less sympathetic and more “laddish” than his younger self, and to some extent this is true. His treatment of Miriam, who is far more in love with him than he is with her, seems very selfish; he is happy to use her for pleasure but would be horrified if she were ever to take the step of leaving her husband for him.

And yet I found the portrayal of Vic in these scenes to be as psychologically true as anything in the earlier episodes of the trilogy. More than ten years on, he is still haunted by memories of Donna. To an outsider she might seem like no more than the first in a long series of mistresses, but to Vic himself she is still the great love of his life, and it is his feelings for her which prevent him from committing emotionally to any other woman. When Donna unexpectedly reappears in his life, therefore, he is determined not to lose her for a second time.

I think that this is what Barstow meant by his title, “The Right True End”. It is taken from a poem by John Donne, some lines of which Barstow quotes on the frontispiece:-

“Whoever loves, if he do not propose
The right true end of love, he’s the one who goes
To sea for nothing but to make him sick”.
It is only with Donna that Vic can propose “the right true end of love”; only to her that he can offer the emotional commitment which has been lacking from his relationships with Miriam and the others. Even with Ingrid he felt no more than a “kind of loving”- hence the title of the first novel in the trilogy- which fell short of this “right true end”.

The great strength of “A Kind of Loving” is that it combines a sympathetic and honest depiction of the problems of two young people, Vic and Ingrid, with a realistic and sometimes humorous look at a particular place at a particular time, industrial West Yorkshire in the late fifties and early sixties. In “The Watchers on the Shore”, and even more so in “The Right True End”, Ingrid is replaced as the main female character by Donna who, even though she is the great love of Vic’s life, is never so vividly drawn as a character. Barstow is unable to repeat the gritty social realism of the Yorkshire scenes in those parts of the trilogy set in Essex and London, which seem more bland and anonymous. Vic the successful thirty-something professional man, speaking in something much closer to Standard English, never grabs our attention in the way his younger self, the struggling working-class youngster who could describe his feelings in his local vernacular with such emotional honesty, once could. With “A Kind of Loving”, his first book, Barstow set himself a high standard which he did not always live up to in his later novels, and I do not think that either “The Watchers on the Shore” or “The Right True End” quite match it in terms of quality.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 15 Nov. 2010
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Ma Weaver (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Right True End (Black Swan) (Paperback)
Brilliant part 3 of a trilogy often refered to as the Vic Brown trilogy i would reccomend reading the other 2 first called A Kind Of Loving and The Watchers on the Shore.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read. Am saving it for my children., 3 April 2015
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This review is from: The Right True End (Black Swan) (Paperback)
Completely and quickly became addicted to this trilogy. Couldn't put the books down. I met Stan in his later years, but never really knew he wrote. It was only when his partner was in her final days that I understood. I would love to hear the radio play version.
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5.0 out of 5 stars As expected...., 11 April 2014
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This review is from: The Right True End (Black Swan) (Paperback)
'Having read the Vic Brown trilogy some years ago, a re - reading was a joy - Stan Barstow's economy of language and his knack of touching every emotion is a few words is masterly.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 2 July 2015
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This review is from: The Right True End (Black Swan) (Paperback)
very entertaining look at intelligent young mans life in flux,well written and fluid.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, 18 July 2014
This review is from: The Right True End (Paperback)
alright
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The Right True End (Black Swan)
The Right True End (Black Swan) by Stan Barstow (Paperback - 14 Feb. 1986)
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