All about Reviews: H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald. If I wanted to read about TH White, I'd get a biography on TH White! © 1996-2020, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates, 3,200 global ratings | 2,610 global reviews, Reviewed in the United States on December 2, 2019. H for Hawk is a harrowing, gut-wrenching and life-affirming account of a person's journey through grief and healing. In “H Is for Hawk,” Helen Macdonald recounts her efforts to train a notoriously difficult bird of prey in the wake of her beloved father’s sudden death. 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 . The writer is a troubled person, she is going through a difficult time, grieving the loss of her father. The words roll and flow. Reviewed in the United States on November 7, 2016. Yet the syntax carries a persistent subliminal message of stress and anxiety and when we are presented with her repeated, if unsparingly honest, declarations of grief – I lost count of the number of times she breaks down or bursts into tears in the book – it is as if we already know it before she tells us. In The New York Times Book Review, Vicki Constantine Croke reviews Helen Macdonald’s “H Is for Hawk.” Ms. Croke writes:. 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. It's a thinly veiled biography of the write T.H. It is not only a bird book but a book about T. H. White’s 1951 classic, The Goshawk, which I once called “a book about excruciatingly bad falconry” but also added “the best book on falconry, its feel, its emotions, and its flavor, ever written.” Something bright and distant, like gold falling through water.". McDonald attempts to connect her own fascination with her goshawk to the life of T H White. OMG this book was the worst I have read in a very long time. On the surface, H is for Hawk is a falconry book chronicling the training of a Northern Goshawk, and yet it is so much more. Reviews from Goodreads.com. Macdonald has written an interesting book. More than any other writer I know, including her beloved White, Macdonald is able to summon the mental world of a bird of prey. Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for H Is For Hawk at Amazon.com. Equal parts woman versus nature story, grief stained memoir and disturbing literary biography, H is for Hawk won the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction in 2104. I bought both the audible and kindle versions. She conjures the shock of the encounter and simultaneously manages to get inside the head of the bird. She acquired her goshawk when in the depths of mourning after her father died suddenly. H Is for Hawk Helen MacDonald, 2014 Grove/Atlantic 288 pp. I felt she was insightful to follow her dream at this time. Most observers agree that even these brief flings were tinged with cruelty on his part, while Macdonald tells us about his treasured library of books on flagellation and his lifelong conflict with his own sadomasochistic urges. If you also find wild birds as fascinating as I do, you'll enjoy Helen's story within a story even more. Helen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk is the best book on the goshawk yet, and may be the best on falconry from the inside. It brings the history of falconry and its archaic language back into modern life. Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for H is for Hawk at Amazon.com. Her one overriding concern is always to provide an exact transcription of what is there to be seen or to be felt. I also should admit that while I'm love animals and share my home with two rescue cats and a rescue dog, I do not believe that birds should be caged and used for our purposes. While the book is award worthy for many reasons – literary bravery in particular – I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped. Yellowhammers chipping in the hedges. Think of Paul Gallico's The Snow Goose, or Gavin Maxwell's Ring of Bright Water. Read honest and unbiased product reviews from our users. Reviewed in the United States on September 4, 2018. It is this small masterpiece that Macdonald had read since childhood and partly inspired her lifelong passion for hawks and hawking. I wanted to follow how she worked through her grief, but every time I read a truly beautiful passage, she would wisk me back to something in TH White's history that made me want to scream. H is for Hawk is at once a misery memoir, as the author grapples with the grieving process, and a falconer's diary about the hard-won trust between hawk and human. In the weaving together of her familial loss with raising one of the world’s most terrifying birds of prey, Helen Macdonald takes readers on a journey I’m sure not many have experienced. It was a unique way of handling her grief, she didn't just curl onto a ball and sob. Please share on: Facebook , Twitter and Instagram You can read more book reviews or buy H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery … 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. Cumulus rubble. It has, as well, some of the winding emotional reverb of Cheryl Strayed's Wild (2012). While 'H is for Hawk' is primarily a vivid and fascinating account of the taming and training of a young female goshawk, anyone seeking a straightforward piece of … “The hawk was everything I wanted to be: solitary, self-possessed, free from grief, and numb to the hurts of human life,” she writes. If you also find wild birds as fascinating as I do, you'll enjoy Helen's story within a story even more. Macdonald is a benevolent memoirist, a wordsmith non pareil, and a mesmerizing, candid observer of life in her world, in Mabel the hawk’s world, and in English dreamworlds. Equal parts woman versus nature story, grief stained memoir and disturbing literary biography, H is for Hawk won the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction in 2104. • Birds and People, by Mark Cocker and David Tipling, came out last year. It is a brilliantly written memoir of the darkest time in Helen Macdonald’s life, as she struggled to cope with the sudden death of her father, noted photographer Alisdair Macdonald. I have been curious about this Costa Book of the Year winner for some time and am so glad I finally read it! Macdonald struggled to put her complicated life back together but two parts of her unusual restorative therapy were the acquisition of a goshawk called Mabel and a year-long plan to tame and train her to hunt. The argillaceous shimmer of tinder-fine clay. I didn't finish this book, which is rare for me. H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald, Grove Press, 300 pages Its publisher describes it as “a distinctive blend of nature writing and memoir.” That depends on your definition of nature. If I hadn’t been there is no way I could have finished it. "The hawk had filled the house with wildness as a bowl of lilies fills a house with scent. White. 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. Hi! This book is part raising a hawk, part memorial for a father, and part biography of T.H. While the book is award worthy for many reasons – literary bravery in particular – I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped. The northern goshawk, however – the largest and most powerful among a group of short‑winged hawks called accipiters – has long been considered a creature apart. 'The hawk had filled the house with wildness as a bowl of lilies fills a house with scent. Yet she also splices into her narrative a biographical account of a literary hero and fellow austringer (the title for one who trains goshawks): TH White. On training a falcon – the ruffian of the sky – and the life problems it can solve, 'Murderous, difficult to tame, sulky, fractious and foreign' … a northern goshawk. The whole underlying purpose of training the goshawk was to give Macdonald the gifts of being lost in a raptor's instinct-driven world and of forgetting about her father, her grief and her travails. Reviewed in the United States on January 23, 2016. H Is For Hawk by Helen MacDonald available in Trade Paperback on Powells.com, also read synopsis and reviews. As a writer she combines a lexicographer's pleasure in words as carefully curated objects with an inventive passion for new words or for ways of releasing fresh effects from the old stock. H is for Hawk is a gorgeous, touching memoiresque story of a women who loses her father and decides to tame a goshawk to find purpose in her life and help ease the pain of her mourning. Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for H Is For Hawk at Amazon.com. H Is for Hawk is a genre-defying debut from one of our most unique and transcendent voices. Helen Macdonald's 'H is for Hawk' is an introspective and profound memoir. 5.0 out of 5 stars H is for Hawk. Perhaps the challenges in her own life predisposed this noted falconer to switch from a lifelong sequence of high-class birds to the one noted for trouble. H Is for Hawk Reviews and opinions written by visitors like you in a few seconds without registration. I'm not sure why the reviews were so over the top. I was surprised by how that part of the book repulsed me. A fallen angel. Grove Press | 2015 | ISBN: 978-0802123411 | 288 pages A few weeks before I picked up Helen Macdonald’s H Is for Hawk, I met my young neighbor Jazmín’s pet bird on a visit to the community garden at the end of my block.From inside a bright pink soft-sided cage, the tiny parakeet emitted an alarm of unhappy chirps. Added to my library to be read at a later date. H is for Hawk is at once a misery memoir, as the author grapples with the grieving process, and a falconer's diary about the hard-won trust between hawk and human. H Is for Hawk is a ghost story not just because of the mesmerizing ghost-tangle it convenes. Falconry has always been a fuzzy business for me. “The hawk was everything I wanted to be: solitary, self-possessed, free from grief, and numb to the hurts of human life,” she writes. It is not only a bird book but a book about T. H. White’s 1951 classic, The Goshawk, which I once called “a book about excruciatingly bad falconry” but also added “the best book on falconry, its feel, its emotions, and its flavor, ever written.” Kathryn Schulz reviews “H Is for Hawk,” Helen Macdonald’s memoir about how raising a goshawk helped her cope with her father’s death. The narration of the audible is excellent; it's the story that's bad. By summer Macdonald enlists a friend to help her drive to Scotland and hand over £800 for a young taloned goshawk she plans to raise and take hunting. It is one part grief memoir, one part guide to raptors, and one part biography of T. H. White, who chronicled his maiden effort at falconry in The Goshawk , written just before he began work on The Once and Future King . Fittingly it is when all this comes together, especially when she goes into the countryside to fly Mabel after rabbits, that the book and its prose really soar. As a naturalist she has somehow acquired her bird's laser-like visual acuity. Customer Reviews See All. H for Hawk is a harrowing, gut-wrenching and life-affirming account of a person's journey through grief and healing. It also analyzes reviews to verify trustworthiness. H Is for Hawk is a ghost story not just because of the mesmerizing ghost-tangle it convenes. H Is For Hawk by Helen MacDonald available in Trade Paperback on Powells.com, also read synopsis and reviews. This decision sets in motion her remarkable memoir H is for Hawk, which has already won some terrific British awards, including the Costa and the Samuel Johnson Prize for Nonfiction. "The hawk was a fire that burned my hurts away. 0 Comment Report abuse Anna. I finally gave up two-thirds through. I had heard of this book, 'H Is For Hawk', and finally succumbed. White, best remembered for his Arthurian novels. Reviewed in the United States on March 27, 2015. I pity the fool who read this book on the basis of the favorable reviews that assured you , this is a great book, you don’t need to be interested in hawks.I read it because I am interested in hawks . Reviewed in Canada on February 24, 2019. About the author: Helen Macdonald is a writer, poet, historian, illustrator and naturalist. Pivotal was the hawk that helped her through the process. LibraryThing is a cataloging and social networking site for booklovers ", Reviewed in the United States on May 28, 2016. I cannot recommend it high enough. 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 . Good but it's large text. Raising a … There are glowing tributes to her father as a photojournalist and as a parent, but he never comes to life as a fully formed character. Verified Purchase. Shortly after her father's death, Ms. Macdonald decides to acquire and train a goshawk. White. Nature: H is for Hawk Helen Macdonald's international best-selling book H Is for Hawk told the story of a grieving daughter who found healing after her father's death, in the form of a goshawk named Mabel. Review: The Angry Bird of H Is for Hawk. H is for Hawk tells Macdonald's story of the year she spent training a northern goshawk in the wake of her father's death. H Is for Hawk Reviews. To order H is for Hawk for £11.99 with free UK p&p call Guardian book service on 0330 333 6846 or go to guardianbookshop.co.uk. I cannot recommend it high enough. H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald is not my cup of tea in the slightest. Her incite and sharing of her grief after her Father's death are a view into the portal of Grief. Reviews; H is for Hawk; H is for Hawk. H is for Hawk I felt her grief drove her to enter the Mabel's world because her grief was so profound. She had an obsession: birds. "Cow parsley," begins her precise catalogue. Authors. Some of my favourite books have been memoirs of a challenging relationship with an animal - Jane Shilling's Fox in the Cupboard, Gavin Maxwell's otter oeuvre. ‘H is for Hawk’ evokes the beauty of English landscapes without being a typical wildlife book. Reviews and Recommendations We've comprehensively compiled reviews of H Is for Hawk from the world's leading experts. Among his earliest recollections was a moment when his parents rolled on the ground clutching at a revolver, each promising to kill themselves and their only son. I know I said I was a fiction fanatic, but when I read good nonfiction I just want to tell the world about it. A reptile. A griffon from the pages of an illuminated bestiary. "Knapweed. It is one part grief memoir, one part guide to raptors, and one part biography of T. H. White, who chronicled his maiden effort at falconry in The Goshawk , written just before he began work on The Once and Future King . White is a fascinating character and I found those sections interesting, but I did not find them well-integrated into the main narrative. There is one classic moment when she meets the young Mabel for the first time. H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald: A review, Reviewed in the United States on May 13, 2016. H Is for Hawk is a genre-defying debut from one of our most unique and transcendent voices. So the hawk is a voyage into a land of death, for not only is her hawk - who she names Mabel - red in tooth and claw, she is a mysterious, highly tuned instrument of death. Of this trio, Macdonald’s likely most familiar to Millions readers, not least of all due to the way H Is for Hawk, her 2015 memoir, was celebrated on this site. Less well-known but with an enduring cult audience is White's own strange account of his efforts to train a goshawk in the late 1930s using only medieval methods. • Helen Macdonald and Tim Dee will discussing birds, and writing about birds, at the London Review bookshop on 8 August 2014. The essay’s ultimate focus is on fox hunting, but it also explores loneliness and grief, which, as demonstrated in her best-selling 2014 memoir, “H Is for Hawk,” she writes about beautifully. When Helen Macdonald’s father died suddenly on a … Her father, who had been an initial coach and companion in her childhood passion for birds, dropped dead with no warning and left her bereft. H Is for Hawk is an improbable and hybrid creature. As a devotee of birds of prey since girlhood, Macdonald knew the legends and the literature, particularly the cautionary example of The Once and Future King author T.H. When When Helen Macdonald’s father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. 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. H is for Hawk belongs alongside them. Grief, as Helen Macdonald explains in “H Is for Hawk,” is personal—the pain is not to be shared. The goshawk is one of Mother Nature's own fighter jets, capable of finding and killing its prey with the speed of a lightning bolt. When the bird finally escaped and his austringer's life ended in failure, White shelved the accompanying manuscript until it was rediscovered by an editor and later published to acclaim as The Goshawk (1951). This is a book about memory, nature and nation, and how it might be possible to reconcile death with life and love. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. She is the author of the bestselling H Is for Hawk, as well as a cultural history of falcons, titled Falcon, and three collections of poetry, including Shaler’s Fish. As a novelist Terence Hanbury White (1906-1964) might have lost traction in recent decades, but his sequence of four books based on the Arthurian legends, known as The Once and Future King, was long celebrated and the inspiration for the film and musical Camelot. Yoga Kathy , 06/01/2015 "H is for Hawk" Helen McDonald is clearly a gifted writer and lover of Goshawks and other creatures. Reviewed in Canada on October 10, 2019. "The hawk had filled the house with wildness as a bowl of lilies fills a house with scent. He was the most important (perhaps the only important ) in her life, and she seems to be much like him. But Vesper Flights ushers forth its own delights as well, as Daniel Lefferts wrote in his profile of Macdonald last June. He was born in India to an alcoholic father and emotionally aloof mother who were hugely ill-suited to each other. Kathryn Schulz reviews “H Is for Hawk,” Helen Macdonald’s memoir about how raising a goshawk helped her cope with her father’s death. ISBN-13: 9780802123411 Summary Winner, 2014 Samuel Johnson Prize Winner, 2014 Costa Book of the Year and Biography Award When Helen Macdonald's father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. The author's descriptions of her father were the only concessions to warm loving feelings for any human being. Pivotal was the hawk that helped her through the process. The more I read about it, the more I realized that falconers reside in an unusual life and journey. When Helen Macdonald’s father died suddenly on a … I want to say “candid” again. H is for Hawk I felt her grief drove her to enter the Mabel's world because her grief was so profound. Largeish–19 to 24 inches–but hard to spot in the wilderness. Her father, Alisdair Macdonald, was a respected photojournalist who died suddenly of a heart attack in 2007. Helen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk is the best book on the goshawk yet, and may be the best on falconry from the inside. "My heart jumps sideways," she recalls, "She is a conjuring trick. I wonder why the author just didn't write a straightforward bio. Few books I have read are as hyper-focused as this story of one woman's long rise from grief by means of raising and training and dedicating her life to a goshawk. It also borrows the logic of the genre, presenting its phantoms as tragic, but dangerous too. Share quick H Is for Hawk review with others and describe your … H is for Hawk tells Macdonald's story of the year she spent training a northern goshawk in the wake of her father's death. Verified Purchase. Read honest and unbiased product reviews from our users. Perhaps it is because the daughter's grief is so recent and pressing, whereas between Macdonald and White there is much greater emotional distance, but she is a better biographer of White than she is of her own father (perhaps also she has deeper, richer insights into the psychology of a fellow austringer). The narcissism is only partly compensated for by beautiful and impeccable (I needed a dictionary several times) descriptions of nature and snippets from time to time about medieval hawking and the history of hawking. Helen Macdonald, as she tells it in H Is for Hawk, was an awkward, unlovely, unpopular child. Just outside Cambridge she finds one memorable winter landscape that has been kiln-dried by the frost. In time‑honoured tradition White was packed off to a boarding school where brutal mistreatment, probably of a sexual character, compounded his own confusion and lifelong fear of intimacy. Helpful. H Is for Hawk is an improbable and hybrid creature. His first biographer, Sylvia Townsend Warner, a lesbian, identified White as homosexual, yet his few openly declared (if largely unsuccessful) relationships were with women. But though her life in the outside world may not have been so auspicious, she had a rich interior life that allowed her to escape from all that. Helen Macdonald looks set to revive the genre. The total effect is a seeming excess of strong emotion. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be so drawn into the world of Hawks. 5.0 out of 5 stars Good. I found that the book ended rather abruptly. Wild burdock. She has a story to tell and she has done a good job. It is difficult to categorize Helen Macdonald's debut, H Is for Hawk; it is simultaneously a natural history, a literary biography, a memoir, and a chronicle of bereavement. H Is for Hawk seems to me a small, instant classic of nature writing, expansive in ways that recall Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (1974), and as in touch with cruelty. It also borrows the logic of the genre, presenting its phantoms as tragic, but dangerous too. Even now, neither scholars of White's work nor his close friends can agree on his precise sexual orientation. Reviewed in the United States on August 29, 2014. 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. Raising a … While 'H is for Hawk' is primarily a vivid and fascinating account of the taming and training of a young female goshawk, anyone seeking a straightforward piece of … It is difficult to categorize Helen Macdonald's debut, H Is for Hawk; it is simultaneously a natural history, a literary biography, a memoir, and a chronicle of bereavement. Drifts of chalk beneath. About the Book H is for Hawk. So the noble, at the London Review bookshop on 8 August 2014. Read honest and unbiased product reviews from our users. Since she was a child, she's been fascinated with falconry and falconers. by Helen Macdonald. My name is Dan Martin. I tried to like it, as I also lost my father and wanted to relate to Helen Macdonald. Hawk training is isolating for Helen and, after days and weeks of identifying with Mabel, she loses her facility for simple human interaction – “it was hard to distinguish between my heart and the hawk at all.” In H is for Hawk, Macdonald’s oddysey parallels that of fellow author and falconer T.H. Craftily woven into it is the tragic story of T.H. In the literature of falconry, goshawks enjoyed a ruffian's reputation and, in the words of Helen Macdonald, were viewed as "murderous, difficult to tame, sulky, fractious and foreign". There are some lovely moments in this book if you can find them...but it might take more than a hawk to maintain an interest. As a devotee of birds of prey since girlhood, Macdonald knew the legends and the literature, particularly the cautionary example of The Once and Future King author T.H. H is for Hawk is a rich and civilizing reading experience. Name: Helen Macdonald. To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. H is for Hawk is a gorgeous, touching memoiresque story of a women who loses her father and decides to tame a goshawk to find purpose in her life and help ease the pain of her mourning. The essay’s ultimate focus is on fox hunting, but it also explores loneliness and grief, which, as demonstrated in her best-selling 2014 memoir, “H Is for Hawk,” she writes about beautifully. One good example is her evocation of her hawk's own psychology. Like her friend the author Tim Dee (Four Fields, 2013), or her contemporary Jay Griffiths (Wild, 2006), she extends the boundaries of nature writing. 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