H is for Hawk


We recommend this…

if you are grieving, lonely, knocked for six by something life has thrown at you, a bit lost.

A quick summary

Overcome by grief, Helen Macdonald retreated from everyday life to the wild world of the goshawk, and to the past – to the history of falconry and English nature writing. In H is for Hawk, she tells the story of how raising and training her goshawk re-connected her to the more-than-human world, to herself, and then back to other humans.



When Helen Macdonald’s father died, she was stricken and bereft. In H is for Hawk, she tells the story of how, in the immediate aftermath of her loss, she raised and trained a goshawk. On the face of it, this is far from a universal, relatable response. However, as you read what the hawk did for her, you may realise you have your own version, or come to believe you will find it – something or someone that allows you to retreat from the human world for a time, and then points you back.

If you like reflective nature writing, biography, history, or, of course, birds of prey there is a lot for you to enjoy here. Macdonald is a Cambridge academic and this book is in part a biography of the writer T.H. White and a history of English nature writing and falconry.

It is also a beautiful, insightful book on the universal but lonely experience of grief. If you are grief-stricken, or brought low by something, it could simply speak straight to your heart.

“The hawk was everything I wanted to be: solitary, self-possessed, free from grief, and numb to the hurts of human life.”

Additional information

Format Paperback
Weight 258 g
Dimensions 196 × 129 × 21 mm
Book Author

ISBN 9780099575450

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