Falconry book, H is for Hawk, wins £20,000 prize


‘H is for Hawk’ reviews and excerpt

For anyone who hasn’t yet picked their August book club read I thought I’d share some of the ‘H is for Hawk’ reviews.

H is for HawkThese have been popping up all over the place this weekend as it’s just been published and below are just a few of them – spoiler alert: they really like this book!

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald, book review: Taming goshawks and grief – James Attlee, The Independent

‘H is for Hawk’, by Helen Macdonald – Melissa Harrison, The Financial Times

H is for Hawk review – Helen Macdonald’s taming of a goshawk called Mabel reads like a thriller – Rachel Cooke, The Guardian

Helen MacDonald has also done some interviews, link to one below:

Helen Macdonald: ‘I ran to the hawk because I was broken and grieving’

The writer and naturalist talks to Patrick Barkham about grief, hunting, and breaking into the earnest, masculine world of nature writing

And for anyone sitting on the fence about whether or not to read this book, here’s a link to an extract:

H for Hawk: Helen Macdonald’s intense relationship with her goshawk Mabel

In an extract from her new book H is for Hawk, Helen Macdonald explains how she came to tame and train a goshawk

A bit of everything for Summer

We’ve picked a bit of everything this month!  Feel free to read whichever of the following appeals most; The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith, The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh, H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald, and The Aftermath by Rhidian Brook.

There’s a broad mix within the choices above – from grief-fuelled falconry to sun-soaked seduction, so our next meet up should be eventful! If you couldn’t make it for the last meeting and would like Leilah to order/reserve you a copy of any book, just drop her an email via the Waterstones Doncaster email address. For those who attended, your choices are reserved at the ground floor counter. Don’t forget to tell the Waterstones staff member that you’re with the book club, and they should know to take off the extra pound, disclaimer.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday 27th August, 5.30pm, Cafe Bar at Cast  (directions and map).

The Cuckoo’s Calling, Robert Galbraith

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (J. K. Rowling)

When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case. Strike is a war veteran – wounded both physically and psychologically – and his life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model’s complex world, the darker things get – and the closer he gets to terrible danger …

A gripping, elegant mystery steeped in the atmosphere of London – from the hushed streets of Mayfair to the backstreet pubs of the East End to the bustle of Soho – The Cuckoo’s Calling is a remarkable book.

Introducing Cormoran Strike, this is the acclaimed first crime novel by J.K. Rowling, writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

Published: 13/02/2014

Publisher: Sphere

ISBN: 9780751549256

The Lemon Grove, Helen Walsh

Lemon GroveEach summer, Jenn and her husband Greg return to Deia, on Mallorca’s dramatic west coast. This year the arrival of Emma, Jenn’s stepdaughter, and her new boyfriend Nathan threatens to upset their equilibrium. Beautiful and reckless, Nathan stirs something unexpected in Jenn. As she is increasingly seduced by Nathan’s youth and the promise of passion, the line between desire and obsession begins to blur. What follows is a highly-charged liaison that puts lives and relationships in jeopardy. For Jenn, after this summer, nothing can ever be the same.

Published: 19/06/2014

Publisher: Tinder Press

ISBN: 9781472212122

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

H is for Hawk‘In real life, goshawks resemble sparrowhawks the way leopards resemble housecats. Bigger, yes. But bulkier, bloodier, deadlier, scarier, and much, much harder to see. Birds of deep woodland, not gardens, they’re the birdwatchers’ dark grail.’

As a child Helen Macdonald was determined to become a falconer. She learned the arcane terminology and read all the classic books, including T. H. White’s tortured masterpiece, The Goshawk, which describes White’s struggle to train a hawk as a spiritual contest. When her father dies and she is knocked sideways by grief, she becomes obsessed with the idea of training her own goshawk. She buys Mabel for GBP800 on a Scottish quayside and takes her home to Cambridge. Then she fills the freezer with hawk food and unplugs the phone, ready to embark on the long, strange business of trying to train this wildest of animals. ‘To train a hawk you must watch it like a hawk, and so gain the ability to predict what it will do next. Eventually you don’t see the hawk’s body language at all. You seem to feel what it feels. The hawk’s apprehension becomes your own. As the days passed and I put myself in the hawk’s wild mind to tame her, my humanity was burning away.’

Destined to be a classic of nature writing, H is for Hawk is a record of a spiritual journey – an unflinchingly honest account of Macdonald’s struggle with grief during the difficult process of the hawk’s taming and her own untaming. At the same time, it’s a kaleidoscopic biography of the brilliant and troubled novelist T. H. White, best known for The Once and Future King. It’s a book about memory, nature and nation, and how it might be possible to try to reconcile death with life and love.

Published: 31/07/2014

Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd

ISBN: 9780224097000

The Aftermath by Rhidian Brook

The AftermathSet in post-war Germany, the international bestseller The Aftermath by Rhidian Brook is a stunning emotional thriller about our fiercest loyalties and our deepest desires.

In the bitter winter of 1946, Rachael Morgan arrives with her only remaining son Edmund in the ruins of Hamburg. Here she is reunited with her husband Lewis, a British colonel charged with rebuilding the shattered city. But as they set off for their new home, Rachael is stunned to discover that Lewis has made an extraordinary decision: they will be sharing the grand house with its previous owners, a German widower and his troubled daughter. In this charged atmosphere, enmity and grief give way to passion and betrayal.

Rhidian Brook is an award-winning writer of fiction, television drama and film. His first novel The Testimony of Taliesin Jones won several prizes including the Somerset Maugham Award. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications, including the Paris Review, New Statesman and Time Out, and have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4. He is also a regular contributor to ‘Thought For The Day’ on the Today programme.

Published: 31/07/2014

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd

ISBN: 9780241957479