H is for Hawk

hardcover, 300 pages

Published Sept. 12, 2014 by Jonathan Cape.

ISBN:
9780224097000

View on OpenLibrary

4 stars (11 reviews)

When Helen Macdonald's father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. An experienced falconer, Helen had never before been tempted to train one of the most vicious predators, the goshawk, but in her grief, she saw that the goshawk's fierce and feral temperament mirrored her own. Resolving to purchase and raise the deadly creature as a means to cope with her loss, she adopted Mabel, and turned to the guidance of The Once and Future King author T.H. White's chronicle The Goshawk to begin her challenging endeavor. Projecting herself "in the hawk's wild mind to tame her" tested the limits of Macdonald's humanity and changed her life.

6 editions

Review of 'H Is for Hawk' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

What a rollercoaster of a read this was, every up and down experienced by Macdonald was also experienced by this reader, the further into madness she went the more intense I felt towards this bird, each time the bird flew I found my heart also about to explode with joy. When I was younger I developed an obsession with Osprey’s I wanted one more than anything else, I could easily imagine myself training it and popping to the shops with it on my fist….my parents got me two canaries instead which were a bugger to train to hunt. Before starting this book I was in two minds about whether I would like it, I love going to the local Hawk Conservancy (coincidentally this was where I purchased this book) and being able to see these beautiful birds up close but at the same time I feel guilty that I get …

Review of 'H is for Hawk' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

Didn't mind the mentions of White but did find it weird that every single chapter it seemed touched on him, would've honestly preferred more focus on the hawk or having just one chapter titled 'White'. Actually, I would have preferred sharper focus on the hawk in general (often it seemed like it was about the emotions the hawk inspired, like the terror it might just fly away, but this might be an odd preference of mine as I know many people might prefer reading about the human emotion bit), more details like the one where she realized the hawk liked to play and wondering if anyone else had ever played with their hawk before.

If you have a lazy day at the library it's not a bad choice at all to pick up and browse through.

Review of 'H Is for Hawk' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

Helen Macdonald has always had a fascination with birds, since a young age she was determined to become a falconer. She would read books on the topic; one book in particular had stuck with her, The Goshawk by T. H. White. When Helen lost her father, grief struck her in a big way, and soon her obsession in training her own goshawk was her own way out. H is for Hawk is a memoir on both dealing with grief and obsession.

I heard so much about this book and when it was assigned for book club, I was excited. Although in the back of my mind, my thoughts on falconry were sceptical. I find falconry to be a barbaric and cruel practice that is no longer required within our culture. To starve and cage a raptor for your own amusement seems unnecessary. With these thoughts going into the book, I …

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