Monday, June 27, 2016

H is for Hawk

H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald  300 pp.

This book is an unusual combination of memoir, grief, falconry, and author T.H. White. Helen MacDonald, a naturalist and falconer, is devastated when her father dies suddenly. While coping with her grief and other personal crises she takes on the task of using her falconry skills to train a notoriously difficult raptor, a goshawk. She uses training methods learned from other falconers and from the writings of T.H. White, author of the Arthurian novels The Sword in the Stone and The Once and Future King. White wrote about his ultimately unsuccessful experiences with his bird called Gos and MacDonald comments on him and the errors he had made. Meanwhile she and her bird, Mabel, are having mixed results in training due, in part, to MacDonald's shaky emotional state. I'm having a hard time deciding if I like this book or not. I enjoy reading about and watching birds of prey so the details about the bird were fascinating. The rest...not so much. I give it a mixed review.

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