(British, 1928– )
Barstow was working in the drawing office of a Yorkshire engineering firm when the critical acclaim and popular success of his first novel, A Kind of Loving (1960), enabled him to become a full-time writer. The straightforward story—working-class Vic Brown gets his girlfriend pregnant and is forced into marriage—is given genuine warmth and immediacy through the depth of its characters. The film was equally memorable. The hero of Ask me Tomorrow (1962) is from a mining family (as was Barstow), struggling to make his way as a writer, and to escape the confines of the class system. The short novel Joby (1964) evocatively captures a young boy's last summer of innocence at the outbreak of the Second World War. An unshowy writer, Barstow is excellent at depicting the small dramas of ordinary lives and making us feel for them by the truth and honesty of his vision.
Alan Sillitoe, Keith Waterhouse, John Wain TH