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H is for Hawk
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1001 book reviews > H is for Hawk - Macdonald

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Kristel (kristelh) | 3829 comments Mod
read 2016;
Review H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald is a lot of things. I listened to the audio read by the author (she did a very good job). This book is first of all about birds, raptors and falconry. Its also a memoir of the author's period of grief after her father died. It also is a look into the life of T.H. White who wrote a book about his goshawk. Much like the author, I've always had an interest in falconry. I wanted to own a falcon but I never was as focused and determined as the author so I've not every gone after my dream as she has. One could say she was obsessed with falconry as a child. This book is shelved in the 500s (598.944) and it gives the reader a great deal of information about hawks, raptors, falconry and training. It has also been tagged as autobiography, biography and memoir. The author's father died unexpectedly. It is the story of her grief which she tells through the training of her hawk. I do think people find things like training hawks to help them get through grief. It reminded me of The Year of Magical Thinking though they are very different but both books gives a picture of going through grief. Finally, I really learned a lot about T. H. White. Maybe more than I care to know. White wrote The Goshawk. White had an unhappy childhood, was an unhappy young man and a unhappy school teacher. He failed miserably in training his Goshawk. The author rereads his book during this time of grief and training her own Goshawk. She reflects on Merlin and his living backwards, his past was always before him.


Daisey | 222 comments I had heard many wonderful reviews of this book, but it was mainly mentioned to me as a personal memoir of a woman dealing with grief by training a hawk. It is, but it is also much more than that. The book is full of the daily details of falconry and biographical information about T.H. White. I truly enjoyed those aspects, and so I truly enjoyed the book. I think I got even more from it simply because I listened to the audiobook immediately after finishing The Once and Future King by T.H. White. If it had not been for that, I'm not sure the biographical aspect would have interested me much.

Read September 2019 for TBR Takedown


Diane | 1924 comments Rating: 4 stars

This is very different from both 1001 books. It is also one of the few examples of true non-fiction on the list. The book is a memoir about a young woman's experiences with taming a goshawk. She interveaves her narrative with her experiences of grief and biographical data about the author T.H. White and his books, The Goshawk and The Once and Future King.


Amanda Dawn | 897 comments I just read the entire book yesterday and loved it immensely…5 stars. The actual falconry parts of it were intriguing and made me miss working for ecologists. So, the hawk is a literal hawk, but the hawk is also a metaphor, and I loved all the different very human themes it explored through the lens of her falconry: it was about the need to control something (especially after her father’s abrupt death), our preoccupation with violence, freedom, the anxiety of always being seen and observed (when she first gets Mabel), letting go, etc. I thought it was masterfully done all around. Also haven’t read Once and Future King yet, but interested how the info about White is going to transpose into that story.


Kristel (kristelh) | 3829 comments Mod
Amanda wrote: "I just read the entire book yesterday and loved it immensely…5 stars. The actual falconry parts of it were intriguing and made me miss working for ecologists. So, the hawk is a literal hawk, but th..."
I think it will inform your reading and I would follow up with it probably sooner than later. I read The Once and Future King a while before this came out. I think reading the memoir first followed by White's novel is the way to go.


Amanda Dawn | 897 comments Kristel wrote: "I think it will inform your reading and I would follow up with it probably sooner than later. I read The Once and Future King a while before this came out. I think reading the memoir first followed by White's novel is the way to go.."

Cool... maybe I'll squeeze it in this year then. Thanks for the suggestion!


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