This Book is for Everyone
I had been eyeing this book for a long time before I had the time to pick it up. Friends and acquaintances from very different backgrounds, unassociated with my avian endeavors, had been suggesting that I read H is for Hawk for months before I read it. A woman I met at a fundraiser for raptors said that the book had sparked her interest in birds. Wow, I thought, I must get a hold of this book. It was clearly having an impact on people from all walks of life, but for very different reasons…
Yes, this book is a memoir about a woman and her hawk, yet Macdonald is generous in her writing and gives her audience much more. It is a literary delight — the writing is so well crafted. That coupled with Macdonald’s succinct storytelling style leaves the mind (and the heart) to breathe between the words, sentences, paragraphs, and chapters. Although at times, there is little time for a breather.
What I liked most about the book, was that the subtle unspoken parts of the human experience were accounted for and represented — not just in her own story, but in the story of White. In H is for Hawk Macdonald unfolds the bittersweet beauty of life through the pains of being human — marginalization, death, illness, loss, conflict.
There are few books that I hold close to my heart after I have read them, Midnight’s Children, No Country for Old Men, The Road, The Lives of Animals, and now, H is for Hawk. It is a book to be cherished. My copy was nearly 300 pages long, but when it was over I wanted more — more of her story, her writing, her hawk, and more of her style. It is impeccable.
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Birds in the Book
Below are visual representations of some birds introduced in H is for Hawk and even a hawk cam where you can admire hawks through “pixel glitter” (Macdonald).