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H Is for Hawk

Helen MacDonald


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Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (3/2/2015)
Paperback (3/8/2016)
Compact Disc (3/3/2015)
MP3 CD (3/3/2015)
Paperback, Large Print (2/9/2016)

March '15 Indie Next List

“This is a superbly crafted memoir, incredibly original in its depth and visceral impact. The author swings back and forth between her own desire to train a goshawk and her research of that same need documented by T.H. White. Self-deprecating humor vies with wonder and grief as Macdonald manages to make the reader see, hear, and feel every aspect of this incredible journey. A marvelous read.”
— Karen Frank, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT
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One of the New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of the Year

One of Slate's 50 Best Nonfiction Books of the Last 25 Years

ON MORE THAN 25 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR LISTS: including TIME (#1 Nonfiction Book), NPR, O, The Oprah Magazine (10 Favorite Books), Vogue (Top 10), Vanity Fair, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Seattle Times, San Francisco Chronicle (Top 10), Miami Herald, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Minneapolis Star Tribune (Top 10), Library Journal (Top 10), Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Slate, Shelf Awareness, Book Riot, Amazon (Top 20)

The instant New York Times bestseller and award-winning sensation, Helen Macdonald's story of adopting and raising one of nature's most vicious predators has soared into the hearts of millions of readers worldwide. Fierce and feral, her goshawk Mabel's temperament mirrors Helen's own state of grief after her father's death, and together raptor and human discover the pain and beauty of being alive (People). H Is for Hawk is a genre-defying debut from one of our most unique and transcendent voices.

Grove Press, 9780802123411, 288pp.

Publication Date: March 3, 2015

About the Author

Helen Macdonald is a writer, poet, illustrator and naturalist, and an affiliated research scholar at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge. She is the author of the bestselling H Is for Hawk, as well as a cultural history of falcons, titled Falcon, and three collections of poetry, including Shaler's Fish. Macdonald was a Research Fellow at Jesus College, Cambridge, has worked as a professional falconer, and has assisted with the management of raptor research and conservation projects across Eurasia. She now writes for the New York Times Magazine. Twitter: @HelenJMacdonald

Conversation Starters from

  1. In the book’s opening pages, Macdonald writes, “The wild can be human work.” (P. 8) Literally, she wrote this sentence to explain how British goshawks were brought back from extinction by falconers who imported birds from the continent which were lost or released and subsequently bred. What other meanings could this line have? What does this tell us about the kind of narrator Helen will be?generic viagra price canada
  2. Macdonald was eight years old when she first reads T.H. White’s The Goshawk, a book that proves a formative experience. She initially dislikes the book. “Why would a grown up write about not being able to do something?” (P. 30) How does Macdonald’s views on White’s book evolve over time?generic viagra price canada
  3. Macdonald notes, “What we see in the lives of animals are lessons we’ve learned from the world.” (P. 60) Through closely observing her hawk’s life, what lessons does Helen ultimately learn from the world?generic viagra price canada
  4. After living several days with her hawk in her flat, Macdonald observes, “I was turning into a hawk.” (P. 85) What does Macdonald mean? How does she explain her “transformation”?generic viagra price canada
  5. Macdonald writes that each picture her father took was “a record, a testament, a bulwark against forgetting, against nothingness, against death.” (P. 71) Later, she looks just once at the last photo her father took before he died. “[A]n empty London street…a wall tipped sideways from the vertical and running into the distance; a vanishing point of sallow, stormy sky.” It is a photo that she can “never stop seeing.” (P. 106) Does Macdonald’s memory of this photo serve as a bulwark against forgetting her father? Or against her father’s death?generic viagra price canada
  6. Macdonald writes about herself, “We carry the lives we’ve imagined as we carry the lives we have, and sometimes a reckoning comes of all the lives we have lost.” (P. 129) Later, she writes about White, “Sometimes a reckoning comes of all the lives we have lost, and sometimes we take it upon ourselves to burn them to ashes.” (P. 130) What is Macdonald’s reckoning? White’s? How do their respective hawks help or hinder their respective reckonings?generic viagra price canada
  7. Macdonald writes, “Hunting with the hawk took me to the very edge of being a human.” (P. 195) What does Macdonald mean? How far to the edge does Macdonald go?generic viagra price canada