Macdonald, of H is for Hawk fame has written a wonderful set of essays about our natural world that had me gasping at times with her word prowess. She likens birds building nests to Abstract artists and wonders how both know when they are finished. She talks about meadows in the English countryside that once housed Theosophists and the ability of masses of migrating birds to instantly morph into designs in the skies that astound those who happen to look up as they pass overhead. No matter what she is writing about, I am interested, I am mesmerized, I am in awe of not only nature but her ability to describe it spectacularly. — From Gayle's Picks (page 1)
September 2020 Indie Next List
“I wish I could give Vesper Flights twelve stars out of five. In this beautiful, loving, poignant portrait of a nature lover’s world — gosh, what an understatement — Helen MacDonald continues to prove herself a nature-writing powerhouse. Her literary skills make her a modern legend, and Vesper Flights is sure to touch as many hearts, if not more, than H Is for Hawk did.”
— Nikki F, Bookie's Chicago, Chicago, IL
Animals don't exist in order 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.
In Vesper Flights Helen Macdonald brings together a collection of her best loved essays, along with new pieces on topics ranging from nostalgia for a vanishing countryside to the tribulations of farming ostriches to her own private vespers while trying to fall asleep.
Meditating on notions of captivity and freedom, immigration and flight, Helen invites us into her most intimate experiences: observing the massive migration of songbirds from the top of the Empire State Building, watching tens of thousands of cranes in Hungary, seeking the last golden orioles in Suffolk's poplar forests. She writes with heart-tugging clarity about wild boar, swifts, mushroom hunting, migraines, the strangeness of birds' nests, and the unexpected guidance and comfort we find when watching wildlife.
By one of this century's most important and insightful nature writers, Vesper Flights is a captivating and foundational book about observation, fascination, time, memory, love and loss and how we make sense of the world around us.