H is for Hawk

H is for Hawk

by Helen Macdonald
Field Guides
Grove Press
Hardcover, 288 pages
$26.00

We loved this book! Ostensibly about falconry, it is a deeper and wider stream than that. Macdonald has woven a beautifully crafted narrative. The warp consists of the parallel stories of her efforts to train and hunt with a Northern Goshawk and the efforts of T.H. White (The Once and Future King) to do the same in the 1930’s. The weft is her deep mourning at the sudden death of her father – noted photographer Alisdair Macdonald. She plumbs the literature and art of falconry from 3000-year-old images through books from the 13th, 14th, 16th and later centuries and combines it with her own (and White’s) experiences in the field. Meditative, dramatic, and lyrically written, the book has it all!