H is for Hawk

by Helen Macdonald

Biography / Autobiography eBooks of the Month

LoveReading View on H is for Hawk

Shortlisted for the The Bookseller Book of the Year 2015.

Winner of the Costa Book of the year 2014.

Winner of the Costa Biography Award 2014.

Winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize 2014.

Owning and training a hawk has been a life-long dream for Helen Macdonald, she accomplishes her dream as she tries to deal with the anguish of her father’s death. She buys a Goshawk, Mabel and the monumental task of training of this wild bird begins. There are some heart in the mouth moments, sadness too not only in her own grief but the tortured soul of T H White, the author who inspired her with Goshawk, his own record of trying to train a Goshawk.  A compelling story that follows Helen Macdonald from dark to light in her quest to let go and become as one with the hawk. ~ Sue Baker

 

The Costa Judges said Macdonald's book was “a beautifully-layered memoir centred on nature and survival in superlative and original prose.”

 

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H is for Hawk Synopsis

Shortlisted for the The Bookseller Book of the Year 2015.

Winner of the Costa Book of the year 2014.

Winner of the Costa Biography Award 2014.

Winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize 2014.

As a child, Helen Macdonald was determined to become a falconer, learning the arcane terminology and reading all the classic books. Years later, when her father died and she was struck deeply by grief, she became obsessed with the idea of training her own goshawk. She bought Mabel for GBP800 on a Scottish quayside and took her home to Cambridge, ready to embark on the long, strange business of trying to train this wildest of animals. H is for Hawk is an unflinchingly honest account of Macdonald's struggle with grief during the difficult process of the hawk's taming and her own untaming. This is a book about memory, nature and nation, and how it might be possible to reconcile death with life and love.

The Good Book Guide Review

When Helen Macdonald’s beloved father died, she experienced all-consuming grief that seemed unassuageable. That she began to identify with the life of austringer (goshawk trainer) T H White and his books, speaks much for her capacity to love and to move on. Writing with a depth of description that is at times poetic, Macdonald shows how she overcame isolation and loneliness through her attachment to a goshawk called Mabel – a bird with a bolshie mind of her own. Macdonald writes poignantly but avoids sentimentality on taking her reader on this journey of discovery and ultimately of liberation.

H is for Hawk Press Reviews

'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

'This is a book made from the heart that goes to the heart... It combines old and new nature and human nature with great originality. No one who has looked up to see a bird of prey cross the sky could read it and not have their life shifted.' -- Tim Dee

'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

'[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

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780099575450
Publication date: 26/02/2015
Publisher: Vintage
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780224097000
Publication date: 31/07/2014
Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd an imprint of Vintage Publishing
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780099575450
Publication date: 26th February 2015
Author: Helen Macdonald
Publisher: Vintage
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 320 pages
Genres: Biography / Autobiography, eBook Favourites,
Categories: Wildlife: birds & birdwatching,

About Helen Macdonald

Helen Macdonald is a writer, poet, illustrator, historian and affiliate at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge. Her books include Falcon (2006) and Shaler's Fish (2001).

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