H is for Hawk: Helen Macdonald

H is for Hawk: Helen Macdonald

Title: H is for Hawk

Author: Helen Macdonald

Genre: Memoir

Publisher: Jonathan Cape

The Guardian

A selection of reviews of Helen Macdonald’s memoir, H is for Hawk.




The Guardian

‘I can’t remember the last time a book made me feel so many different things in such quick succession. It’s difficult to be with grief. It’s exhausting; your life-grabbing instinct is to get away from it, which is what makes it so lonely for those in its grasp. […] [Macdonald’s] descriptive writing, startling 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 so that your stomach and heart leap queasily towards each other. Always, you’re waiting for the moment when Mabel at last flies free. Will she return safely to Macdonald’s fist?’ Read the full review

The Independent

‘…anyone seeking a straightforward piece of nature writing should look elsewhere. Helen Macdonald’s relationship with the bird she variously describes as “beautiful like a granite cliff or a thundercloud” and “intimidating as hell… spooky and reptilian” is merely one of those that shape her book. A recent reviewer accused the book of displaying an “excess of strong emotion”, but surely this is the point: at times her vision may blur with grief but perhaps this is what allows her to see things in a different way. […] Full of sentiment it may be, but Macdonald’s book avoids sentimentality.’ Read the full review

The New York Times

‘If birds are made of air, as the nature writer Sy Montgomery says, then writing a great bird book is a little like dusting for the fingerprints of a ghost. It calls for poetry and science, conjuring and evidence. In her breathtaking new book […] Helen Macdonald renders an indelible impression of a raptor’s fierce essence — and her own — with words that mimic feathers, so impossibly pretty we don’t notice their astonishing engineering. […] as Mabel matures into a confident hunter, she brings Macdonald a different kind of discovery: that grace resides in the most unlikely places — and that moving forward means leaving some things behind.’ Read the full review 

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1 Comment

  1. Wow that was strange. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after
    I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up.

    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say fantastic blog!|

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