Thursday, 24 January 2019

H is for Hawke by Helen Macdonald

"I was twelve years old when I first saw a trained goshawk."


Here is a book that won a raft of awards and was one of those ubiquitous titles in every bookstore upon its release. I'd put off actually reading it for a few years on the basis that I didn't think training a hawk would be all that interesting. I was wrong.
I wasn't expecting a mix of misery, literature and hunting that actually works as a novel. Unexpectedly this is a bit of a gem and reflects all the glowing reviews. Is it perfect? I don't think so, there were moments where the pace lagged and my interest started to wane. Yet eventually, I was drawn back in and that says a lot about its delivery.

Upon closing the last page, I wondered where I could get myself a copy of T H White's The Goshawk.  It made me reflect on the nature of pets and how they become an avatar of their owner ( or vice versa). The protagonist becomes hawk-like in her obsessions, much like you see owners who resemble their dogs. It is a fascinating conceit.

If you're feeling down and like wallowing in literature and birds of prey, then this is definitely your cup of tea. For many I suspect reading this will be an usual and memorable experience, even if I wasn't one hundred percent on board throughout. I guarantee if you read this you will find yourself googling Goshawks on more than one occasion.

4 out of 5 birds of prey are flying high.



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