A Kind of Loving Mass Market Paperback – 25 Oct 2013
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'In the five decades since its initial publication, A Kind of Loving has lost none of its power; indeed, its contemporary relevance is astonishing. Barstow's work, in its empathetic anger and passion and integrity, has long been a hope and a beacon for the socially engaged and politically committed writer and reader and this re-issue of one of the last century's finest novels is not only a boon but a necessity. Such is the mark of great and imperishable literature.' --Niall Griffiths
'...warmth, liveliness, honesty, compassion...' --Sunday Times
About the Author
Fiction writer and dramatist, Barstow was born in the West Riding of Yorkshire. He attended Ossett Grammar School, then began writing in the 1950s. Along with Alan Sillitoe, John Braine and Keth Waterhouse he is considered one of the pioneers of the 1960s school of northern literary realism. His first great success was the novel A Kind of Loving, which became a film directed by John Schlesinger and starring Alan Bates. Since then he has produced eleven novels and three books of short stories, many set in the fictional mining town of Cressley, as well as TV scripts and material for the radio and theatre. Other works include the novel Ask Me Tomorrow (1962), and Joby, which was turned into a television play starring Patrick Stewart. For the last ten years of his life he made his home in South Wales with the distinguished radio dramatist Diana Griffiths. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a Fellow of the Welsh Academy and an Honorary Master of Arts of the Open University.
Top customer reviews
But more than that, it was such a nostalgic look at the time of my youth - a time when the majority of us travelled by bus and smoked. A time when a ten-bob note really could buy you a fair bit and social attitudes were so, so different. Because let's get real here - this book could not have been written today, as an unwanted pregnancy would have been terminated nowadays and the father would not have automatically been expected to marry his pregnant girlfriend.
Despite all this, Stan Barstow created totally believable and sympathetic characters. In fact, so believable, I am now going to buy the second two of the trilogy (until reading A Kind of Loving this time, I didn't realise that the story of Vic Brown didn't end there). So I have more nostalgic enjoyment still to come.
What makes this book so compelling (I read it in a single sitting) is Vic’s voice: laddish and yet idealistically romantic, all his shifting emotions, his honesty and his confusion are captured brilliantly. Vic could have been an unsympathetic character and it’s to Barstow’s credit that he’s not: even at his most brutal and callous, his relentless candour keep us on his side.
Apart from the story of Vic and Ingrid, this is also a book which gives a brilliant depiction of the world as it was in 1960 in a small town in Yorkshire: the newfangled television, the innocence of youth, the way a public dance-hall forbids rock’n’roll forcing young couples to waltz instead, people smoking pipes on the bus.
But for all the social-historical interest, this remains so powerful because of the detailed characterisation and the increasing claustrophobia of Vic’s predicament – a book deservedly named a classic, and a superb read.
A must read for a good laugh.
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