I’m so deeply engrossed in Helen MacDonald’s H is for Hawk in a way that few nonfiction books have pulled me in before. After the death of her father, MacDonald turns to an old love to find meaning in her life: falconry. It sounds almost bizarre—trying to tame a wild hunting bird in order to grieve, and perhaps heal.
MacDonald is successful with the deft treatment of not only the history and art of falconry, but the tense emotional development that occurs between captor and captive, owner and pet, hunter and prey. It’s these tenuous relationships that evoke her lost patriarch and shed a new light on what it means to navigate loss. The balance of history and research with a truly moving narrative makes me want to fly back to this gorgeous book again and again.