A KIND OF LOVING by Stan Barstow
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This is the first novel of a young Yorkshire writer who grew up in the same kind of West Riding industrial community as his 20 year old hero. Victor Arthur Brown is an average working class young man, a draughtsman for an engineering firm, and his story is told in the first person. His conflicts are ordinary and the drama in his life, though it proves decisive for him, is unexceptional and everyday. He thinks he's in love with Ingrid Rothman, a typist in the company, though he's never spoken to her. He undergoes agonies of doubt during their first dates but eventually it's clear that the empty-headed Ingrid is more in love with Victor than he is with her and he has his own way with her until he can't bear the sight of her -- partly because his own behavior makes him feel so guilty. And when she becomes pregnant he's desperate. He doesn't love her, she knows it, but he marries her anyway. Their life together in her mother's house is a nightmare, compounded by the fact that Ingrid loses her baby. He walks out on her but doesn't get the sympathy he expected from his own family and eventually he's forced to face up to the situation he has himself created and accept the kind of life which falls far short of his vague ambitions. A summary really doesn't do the book justice because one of its most integral elements is the manner of speech and the attitudes of the characters. And far from the book's accumulation of ordinary detail being just simply that, it serves to authenticate, not only Victor's character but that of his friends and family and his entire class. Were Barstow not such a skillful writer his book might easily be hopelessly boring.

Pub Date: Jan. 20th, 1960
Publisher: Doubleday