Forty-five minutes north-east of Cambridge is a landscape I've come to love very much indeed.
–Helen Macdonald - H is for hawk - c. 2014
I added this book to my TBR pile way back when it won the Costa Book of the Year award. That was in January 2015, so it has taken me more than two years to get to it. But get to it I did. And it is simply wonderful. Such a great book, I cannot recommend it highly enough.
On the one hand it is the story of Macdonald’s experiences training a goshawk. It is also a memoir dealing with the loss of her father. And it is a look at the life of T. H. White, his writings and life. Some people may enjoy some aspects more than others, but I loved it all, from Macdonald’s wanderings through Cambridge with a hawk, through her examinations of White’s life, to her depression and grief, it is all so beautifully written. I could have read it all day if I’d had the time.
However, if you pick it up thinking that this is a nature book, or a book about training a hawk then you will be disappointed. That is an integral part of the book, but because it is an integral part of Macdonald. This is more of a memoir than a nature book. But then for people who like to read memoirs there is probably too much hawk? For me, it was a wonderful blend and I don’t think there was anything in the book I disliked.
I also now want to read more about White and his life, Macdonald makes him into a fascinating character.