H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
What’s it about?
This memoir centers equally around grief and the natural world. Helen Macdonald is a young adult when she loses her father. She then loses herself in her grief. She eventually finds her way out with the help of a Goshawk named Mabel.
What did I think?
I felt as if I was reading a classic book written at a different point in history. At times it was a little slow (she was fascinated with author T.H. White) but her story was always interesting. I knew nothing about falconry and it’s origins so I learned a lot.
Should you read it?
If you are interested in nature, English history, or the grief process this memoir is a must read. If you just love a book with beautifully constructed sentences then you will also not want to miss “H is for Hawk”.
“Here’s a word. Bereavement. Or, Bereaved. Bereft. It’s from the Old English bereafian, meaning ‘to deprive of, take away, seize, rob’. Robbed. Seized. It happens to everyone. But you feel it alone. Shocking loss isn’t to be shared, no matter how hard you try. “
“The hawk was a fire that burned my hurts away. There could be no regret or mourning in her. No past or future. She lived in the present only, and that was my refuge.”
What did you think of falconry after reading this book?
If you like this try-
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Levels of Life by Julian Barnes
8 1/2 stars
favorites from 2020
some favorites of the last decade
best of winter 2020
best of summer/fall 2019
best of winter/spring 2019
best of summer/ fall 2018
best of winter/spring 2017-18
best of spring/summer 2017
best of winter
best of summer 2014
last spring favorites
on my nightstand
edge of your seat
― Charles William Eliot
3 to 4- I found some aspect of this book redeeming but would not recommend it.
5 to 6- I really enjoyed something about this book (characters, plot, meaning etc.) but it was uneven. Some aspects were stronger than others.
7 to 8- It was a good book. I liked lots of aspects of this book. I would recommend it.
9 to 10- I was sorry to turn the last page. I highly recommend this book!