Helen Macdonald: H is for Hawk

H is for Hawk cover - Rik Rawling

I used my 2015 drawing ‘The Falconer’ for this mock-up cover to one of my favourite books – Helen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk. It gets lumped in with a lot of Guardian-approved ‘nature writing’ but it transcends the imposition of any genre constraints through the singularity of its conceit and its construction. A memoir, a rumination on loss, a quasi-biography of T.H. White and a primer for anyone who fancies themselves as a falconer – it is all these things and more, written with a quality of prose you rarely see:

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, though you can put your hand out to where things were and feel that tense, shining dullness of the space where the memories are.


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