Items related to H is for Hawk

Macdonald, Helen H is for Hawk

ISBN 13: 9780224097000

H is for Hawk

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9780224097000: H is for Hawk
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Winner of the 2014 Samuel Johnson Prize
Winner of the 2014 Costa Book of the Year Award
Shortlisted for the 2014 Duff Cooper Prize
Shortlisted for the 2014 Thwaites Wainwright Prize

‘In real life, goshawks resemble sparrowhawks the way leopards resemble housecats. Bigger, yes. But bulkier, bloodier, deadlier, scarier, and much, much harder to see. Birds of deep woodland, not gardens, they’re the birdwatchers’ dark grail.’

As a child Helen Macdonald was determined to become a falconer. She learned the arcane terminology and read all the classic books, including T. H. White’s tortured masterpiece, The Goshawk, which describes White’s struggle to train a hawk as a spiritual contest.

When her father dies and she is knocked sideways by grief, she becomes obsessed with the idea of training her own goshawk. She buys Mabel for £800 on a Scottish quayside and takes her home to Cambridge. Then she fills the freezer with hawk food and unplugs the phone, ready to embark on the long, strange business of trying to train this wildest of animals.

‘To train a hawk you must watch it like a hawk, and so gain the ability to predict what it will do next. Eventually you don’t see the hawk’s body language at all. You seem to feel what it feels. The hawk’s apprehension becomes your own. As the days passed and I put myself in the hawk’s wild mind to tame her, my humanity was burning away.’

Destined to be a classic of nature writing, H is for Hawk is a record of a spiritual journey - an unflinchingly honest account of Macdonald's struggle with grief during the difficult process of the hawk's taming and her own untaming. At the same time, it's a kaleidoscopic biography of the brilliant and troubled novelist T. H. White, best known for The Once and Future King. It's a book about memory, nature and nation, and how it might be possible to try to reconcile death with life and love.

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Review:

"It just sings. I couldn’t stop reading." (Mark Haddon)

"This beautiful book is at once heartfelt and clever in the way it mixes elegy with celebration: elegy for a father lost, celebration of a hawk found - and in the finding also a celebration of countryside, forbears of one kind and another, life-in-death. At a time of very distinguished writing about the relationship between human kind and the environment, it is immediately pre-eminent." (Andrew Motion)

"H is for Hawk is a dazzling piece of work: deeply affecting, utterly fascinating and blazing with love and intelligence... The result is a deeply human work shot through...with intelligence and compassion... I will be surprised if a better book than H is for Hawk is published this year." (Melissa Harrison Financial Times)

"I'm convinced it's going to be an absolute classic of nature writing." (Nick Barley Guardian)

"I can't remember the last time a book made me feel so many different things in such quick succession." (Rachel Cooke Guardian)

"[Macdonald’s] descriptive writing, startlingly and devilishly precise...is only the half of it. She has written her taming of Mabel like a thriller, slowly and carefully cranking the tension is that your stomach and heart leap queasily towards each other... Captivates." (Rachel Cooke Observer)

"Captivating... There is a highly polished brilliance to her writing. The English-speaking world has an old passion for books about creatures and captivating companions ... Helen Macdonald looks set to revive the genre." (Guardian Mark Cocker)

"Nature-writing, but not as you know it. Astounding." (Bookseller)

"It is a mark of Macdonald’s achievement that so exultant a book can resolve itself in a sense of failure, yet leave the reader as uplifted as a raptor riding on a thermal." (Philip Hoare New Statesman)

"MacDonald’s prose is poetic, forensic, yet often capable of quickening the pulse. Her lexicon...is vivid and joyous, soaring as freely as birds do." (Benjamin Myers New Scientist)

Book Description:

Destined to be a classic of nature writing, the story of how one woman trained a goshawk

Winner of the 2014 Samuel Johnson Prize
Winner of the 2014 Costa Book of the Year Award
Shortlisted for the 2014 Duff Cooper Prize
Shortlisted for the 2014 Thwaites Wainwright Prize

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

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