I came across this photo of Stan Barstow whilst tracking down something else. Looking like a young Orwell, he actually was the author of A Kind of Loving, published in 1960. He was born in 1928, thus the officer's moustache which he was too young to qualify for. This is, perhaps, one of the things that made that generation angry. They couldn't help being born in 1928 and so being only 17 when WWII ended – they'd missed it all. And angry they were, John Osborne, John Braine, Alan Sillitoe, Britain's 'angry young men' writing in the late 1950s, gritty portrayals of postwar northern urban life that cracked the tin ceiling of the working class.
I'd read these books, because my father was a librarian and they were all around the house, and then in the early 1960s they were all made into films – black and white, wonderfully bleak, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, Room at the Top, A Taste of Honey – all seen in grade 8 or 9 at the Capitol Theatre in Nanaimo. I fell for it all like a ton of bricks, as they say. Profoundly passionate, hopelessly romantic within the tough strictures of working class morés; clearly I wasn't reading Virginia Woolf – that came in grade 10, nonetheless I absorbed it all, as a 14 year-old will do. It didn't have anything to do with a life in Canada, but that's the thing about reading books, one is transported. Completely.
Thinking of re-reading Barstow, I find the Calgary Public Library which lauds itself for being the most active in the country, has none of his books.