‘Thrilling dispatches from a vanishing world’ Observer
Animals don’t exist to teach us things, but that is what they have always done, and most of what they teach us is what we think we know about ourselves.
From the bestselling author of H is for Hawk comes Vesper Flights, a transcendent collection of essays about the human relationship to the natural world.
Helen Macdonald brings together a collection of her best-loved writing along with new pieces covering a thrilling range of subjects. There are essays here on headaches, on catching swans, on hunting mushrooms, on twentieth-century spies, on numinous experiences and high-rise buildings; on nests and wild pigs and the tribulations of farming ostriches.
Vesper Flights is a book about observation, fascination, time, memory, love and loss and how we make the world around us. Moving and frank, personal and political, it confirms Helen Macdonald as one of this century’s greatest nature writers.
**CHOSEN AS A SUNDAY TIMES BOOK TO WATCH OUT FOR IN 2020 AND A NEW STATESMAN BOOK TO READ IN 2020**
Thrilling dispatches from a vanishing world... A powerful - and entertaining - corrective to the idea that the only hopes that matter on this planet are those of our own species. -- Tim Adams * Observer * Vesper Flights is a book of ideas and urgent, beautiful writing... [Macdonald] is a writer whose every word is to be cherished. -- Tom Lathan * Spectator * Helen Macdonald is one of the best nature writers now working. -- Simon Ings * Telegraph *Books of the Year* * Nature writing at its best... All kinds of wondrous... Each and every essay reminded me what a gifted writer Macdonald is. Her prose is poetry but it also has a drenching kind of a clarity. And this is good because we shouldn't allow ourselves to be lulled by the sheer pleasure of reading her. For these are urgent pieces designed to open our eyes. -- Caroline Sanderson * Bookseller *Book of the Month* * An antidote to so much romantic, reductive writing about the natural world... Macdonald's writing teems with other voices and perspectives, with her own challenges to herself. It muddies any facile ideas about nature and the human, and prods at how we pleat our prejudices, politics and desires into our notions of the animal world... Hers is a gritty, companionable intimacy with the wild... The essays...are short, varied and highly edible. -- Parul Sehgal * New York Times *
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