Guardian Paperbacks of the week. 18 March 2017. Nicholas Lezard’s choice: NoWay But Gentlenesse by Richard Hines
‘No Way But Gentlenesse by Richard Hines – I’ve just finished it and it was wonderful’
‘No Way But Gentlenesse, by Richard Hines, the brother of the late author Barry Hines. Richard was the model for Billy Casper in his brother’s book A Kestrel for a Knave and the subsequent film Kes, and tells a moving and powerful tale of the redemptive powers of nature.’
Stephen Moss. Author / naturalist / television producer.
Tweeted 29th November 2016: ‘Best book I’ve read this year.’
Frank Cottrell – Boyce. Screenwriter / novelist / writer of the opening ceremony for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
“This is a work of enchanting honesty and tenderness; it is as gentle and inspiring to the reader as a falconer is with his hawks. Hines has a deep and lifelong passion for birds of prey, creatures of implacable wildness which have nevertheless lived and hunted with humans for millennia. Full of fascinating detail about the training of raptors, and kestrels in particular, No Way But Gentlenesse is far more than a book on falconry. Rich with history and anecdote, lit with humour and passionate social concern, it gives us new insights into the making of one of our best-loved films. It speaks of love, family, history, and education, and illuminates how an obsession can enrich and shape one’s life. Reading it was a true pleasure”
Helen Macdonald, Author of H is for Hawk, Costa Book of the Year, 2014
“Reading Richard Hines’s book is like seeing a myth captured and brought to earth … Completely absorbing. His descriptions are so vivid you feel close enough to reach forward and touch”
Peter Carey, Sunday Times
“Richard communicates his passion for falconry and for the landscape of his home town with great warmth. He played a great part in training the three kestrels who played ‘Kes’”
Ken Loach – Film Director
“A spellbinding book. No Way But Gentlenesse is both a wonderful record of a time and place, and a testament to the power of nature to transcend both. It also reveals that the story behind Kes is just as compelling as the one in the original novel and film. Richard Hines’ memoir will be essential reading for fans of Kes … and shows how the people in the north’s industrialised landscapes had a strong, intimate and distinct relationships with the natural world.”
Richard Benson, The Number 1 Best Selling Author of The Farm
“It is certainly worth having. And its plain-spoken and unflashy but eloquent account, as its title suggests, of all sorts of gentleness, first to do with the taming of meat-eating raptors, but then also related to Hines’ human kith and kin, runs deep into the literature birds and people … Hines’ sweet title comes from a seventeenth-century falconry manual. And gentleness sweetly pushes through much of this book”
Tim Dee – Book of the Week, The Guardian