New Transcendentalism: Martha Heimberg on H is for Hawk

When: Thursday, December 3
Salon: Private Residence, RSVP: wordspace@wordspace
Refreshments made possible by Ben E. Keith and Spiral Diner!

Blood Sport: Helen McDonald’s H is for Hawk

shoppingCritic Martha Heimberg places Helen Walker’s H is For Hawk in the feral and vivid tradition of literary nature writing, from Thoreau and Emerson in America’s great Romantic tradition to the Scottish naturalist John Muir’s passionate environmentalism and Barbara Kingsolver’s nature-rich fiction.

H is For Hawk is a brilliant and fierce memoir by Cambridge lecturer, poet and naturalist. It won every major science and essay-writing award in Britain and America in 2014. As the New Yorker critic wrote: “Had there been an award for the best new book that defies every genre, I imagine it would have won that, too.”

When McDonald’s beloved father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. An experienced falconer, she’d never before been tempted to train a goshawk, the most belligerent and vicious flying predator of them all. Then she did. She purchased and raised a goshawk, because, in her wild grief, she equated the creature’s feral and fierce temperament to her own.

Part myth, part memoir, part lit-crit and falconry history, the work is innovative, invigorating and “so good it draws blood,” says Dwight Garner in the New York Times.

Is there a falconer in the house?


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