H is for Hawk review

“Hunting makes you animal, but the death of an animal makes you human.” Helen Macdonald has written poetry before and it shows. She writes not just about things seen, but also things felt — intuitive thoughts and feelings we all have. MacDonald puts them down into words. She writes about taming a hard-to-handle goshawk as an escape from the world and the loss of her father — and even though the subject is very much the wilderness of the bird and the fields and forests, the pages run thick with insights on human behaviour. It took me long a while to finish H is for Hawk because I’d be taking photos and notes, going back to pages and reading them aloud — and often I’d put the book down just in sheer awe of a paragraph. This is an impossibly good and timeless book.