“There is a time in life when you expect the world to be always full of new things. And then comes a day when you realise that is not how it will be at all. You see that life will become a thing made of holes. Absences. Losses. Things that were there and are no longer. And you realise, too, that you have to grow around and between the gaps, […]”

18803640What is this book about?

Helen recently lost her father and while mourning him, she decides to train her own goshawk. This doesn’t come out of nowhere, as Helen has been obsessed with becoming a falconer since the age of seven. She buys a goshawk out of the back of a car and the journey of training it, and of mourning her father, begins.

Why is it boring?

I don’t read all that much non-fiction, but this book seemed so special that I had to pick it up. I know that training a goshawk can sound a bit boring, but H is for Hawk is a beautifully written book about a beautiful bird, but also mourning and solitude. Helen trains her hawk while living completely alone and she steps out of the ‘normal’ world and into the that of the goshawk.

Who would you recommend it to?

Anyone with a love of birds. And just a warning, even if you don’t love birds, after reading this book you definitely want to became a falconer. Seeing how training her hawk took over her entire life is awe inspiring and will not leave you untouched.

Why should I read it if it’s boring?!

First of all, look at that bird!That’s Mabel, Helen Macdonald’s actual goshawk. It’s one of the most beautiful creatures you’ve seen or what? It definitely made me enthusiastic about becoming a falconer myself. I started googling the possibilities of this right after I finished the book ;). Macdonald’s writing is beautiful, but definitely intense and enough reason on it’s own to start reading her book immediately.  Besides this book being about loss and the mourning of a parent, you also learn a lot on how to train a goshawk and how training a goshawk has changed through time. Macdonald provides plenty of historic background and practical advice, which just shows how immersed she became in this world. It is a fascinating read to learn more about the personal reasons of someone, deciding to dedicate their life to train such a special creature.

Rating: 4/5

Review Copy attained through Netgalley with special thanks to the publisher Grove Atlantic.

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Charlotte de Heer is the oldest of the founding sisters. Even though she's too busy for her own good, she'll find the time to write about books she's reading and places she's going.

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