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H is for Hawk

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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 £800 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.

 It's a book about memory, nature and nation, and how it might be possible to try to reconcile death with life and love.

  • Winner of the 2014 Costa Book of the Year Award
  • Winner of the 2014 Samuel Johnson Prize.
  • Costa Biography Award Winner 2014