Wednesday, 10 August 2016
Falcon, by Helen Macdonald
You probably know Helen Macdonald as the author of the best-selling H Is For Hawk, which was Costa Book of the Year 2014 and also won the Samuel Johnson Prize that year. It combined a moving memoir of the writer's loss of her father with a diary of the training of a Goshawk, the most difficult to handle of all falconers' birds.
This new release, Falcon, was originally published in 2006, but has been reissued with a new preface by Macdonald that brings it up to date. As well as looking at the use of the birds of the title in falconry, the book explores the natural history of falcons, and their role in history and myth. The end result is an absorbing, entertaining and enlightening read (well illustrated, too).
Macdonald is also, of course, a poet of note, and her collection Shaler's Fish is well worth seeking out (although it's not easy to come by). I'm glad to have snapped up a copy a good few years ago – it's a book that repays repeated readings.