H Is for Hawk
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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.
It was winter history. Time’s receding. Or possibly heatstroke. I wished I had brought some water. I stood for a long while and looked at the house. It was a private place. I did not want to get closer; I didn’t want to intrude on the person who lived there. But I saw that the trees had grown, that the barn was now a garage. The well would still be there. And then I heard a chipping, scraping noise, and froze. Behind a bush in the garden was a flash of white; a shirt. There was a man
William Bray, Henry Colburn, 1827, vol. 2, p. 433. — There are divers Sorts – Richard Blome, Hawking or Faulconry, The Cresset Press, 1929 (originally published as part of The Gentlemen’s Recreation, 1686), pp. 28–9. 3: Small worlds — No matter how tame and loveable – Frank Illingworth, Falcons and Falconry, Blandford Press Ltd, p. 76. — She is noble in her nature – Gilbert Blaine, Falconry, Philip Allan, 1936, pp. 229–30. — Among the cultured peoples – ibid, p. 11.
where a falconer took a goshawk back onto his own fist, ‘reassuming him like a lame man putting on his accustomed wooden leg, after it had been lost’. Yes, holding the hawk for the first time felt like that. Exactly like that. Mutely I crawled up the stairs and fell into bed. The hawk was here, the journey was over. That night I dreamed of my father. It wasn’t the usual dream of a family reunited. In the dream I’m searching for something in a house, an empty house with pale squares on the
moth, a giant hawkmoth. She gains height. There is a terrible crepuscular hush. I can see her long head turning to look at me, and her tail fanning and flexing as she turns. I’m in some kind of fugue state. The gap between me and the hawk is something I feel like a wound. She is circling, and looking at me, and seems uncertain about coming back. Stuart is standing here. Christina is standing there. I am standing right here, shouting and whistling at the hawk. The dark, that she can fly in
My job was over. It was time to move. I was already an emotional mess, but the stress of the move pushed my dysfunction to spectacular proportions. The new house in the suburbs was nothing like the old house in the city: it was huge and modern, with a vast front room for the hawk to sleep in and lawns to sun herself upon. I filled the freezer with hawk food and a stack of frozen pizzas. Dragged my clothes upstairs in their plastic sacks, dumped them in a pile by the bedroom door. The rain