Describing the first time she laid eyes on Mabel, the hawk that would form the centrepiece of her life for over five years, Helen Macdonald’s book recalls her as “a conjuring trick. A reptile. A fallen angel. A griffon from the pages of an illuminated bestiary. Something bright and distant, like gold falling through water.”
It is this unique, lyrical depiction of the relationship between human and wild falcon (Ed: *sigh*…) that led the judges of this year’s Samuel Johnson prize to name Macdonald’s book, H is for Hawk, the winner of the most prestigious accolade in nonfiction.I read this lady’s blog long ago, and I’m delighted to see it back, expanded and improved, in book form. It’s a well deserved win.
And the ‘Guardian’ is getting some well deserved stick for this comment:
Part misery memoir, part naturalist diary…There’s no comparison between this and the sort of voyeuristic stuff you find on supermarket bookshelves, take it from me.