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Vesper Flights

Helen Macdonald

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JONATHAN CAPE
03 September 2020
Literary essays; Mathematics & Sciences; The natural world, country life & pets; Wildlife: general interest; Wildlife: birds & birdwatching; Abbey's Double Rewards
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ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Vesper flights are the twilight forays of Swifts, who gather high in the sky, rise to the top of the convective boundary layer, where they work out exactly where they are, because in the high reaches of the atmosphere they can see the stars, calibrate their magnetic compasses, check the light polarisation patterns and see oncoming weather systems. Such an effort for a bird weighing 40 grams - and perhaps, Macdonald writes, they can be markers for human decision-making in the face of bad weather... In this heartfelt collection of 40 essays and articles, Macdonald blends scientific journalism with personal memoir and philosophical enquiry with literature, creating profound, exquisite, thought-provoking, urgent and transcendent works. Showing that the world is not just enormously complicated, but that it does not - and never has - belonged to humans alone. Splendid and stirring stuff indeed.  Lindy Jones

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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**

By:   Helen Macdonald
Imprint:   JONATHAN CAPE
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 222mm,  Width: 144mm,  Spine: 144mm
Weight:   392g
ISBN:   9780224097017
ISBN 10:   0224097016
Pages:   272
Publication Date:   03 September 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Helen Macdonald is a writer, poet, illustrator and historian. Her book H is for Hawk won many prizes, including the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction, the Costa Book of the Year, the Prix due Meilleur Livre Etranger in France, and in the US was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She writes a regular column in New York Times Magazine, and lives in Suffolk.

Reviews for Vesper Flights

This nature writer's long-awaited follow-up to her influential 2014 memoir H is for Hawk is a treat: dive into essays about headaches and high-rises, catching swans and farming ostriches. * Daily Telegraph * From reflections on her childhood love of animals to sharp observations on the migrations of songbirds, the author of H is for Hawk fills her essay collection with vivid appreciation for the wildlife that surrounds us. * Time Magazine, *Summer Reads 2020* * H is for Hawk turned many a reader into a goshawk fan... This lyrical essay collection also explores human relationships with the natural world, but has a wider scope, taking in a search for the last golden orioles in Suffolk's poplar forests and swan-upping on the Thames. * Country Living * Nature writing at its best... Helen Macdonald's eagerly awaited first book since H is for Hawk in 2014 is...all kinds of wondrous... I wanted to savour it, spinning it out across weeks, one chapter per evening, like a sort of lockdown Forty and One Nights of my own... 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* *


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