"Animals don't exist in order to teach us things, but that is what they have always done," observes the author of H Is for Hawk, whose 41 essays collected here include nostalgic meditations on a vanishing countryside and an unforgettable account of the tribulations of farming ostriches. In this New York Times Best Book of the Summer, Helen Macdonald observes the migration of songbirds from the top of the Empire State Building, watches thousands of cranes in Hungary, and seeks the last golden orioles in Suffolk's poplar forests. Macdonald 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.
"Dazzling.... Macdonald reminds us how marvelously unfamiliar much of the nonhuman world remains to us, even as we continue to diminish it."—Wall StreetJournal
"For many this year, the great outdoors has been the great beyond, rendering it impossible to feel at one with nature. For this reason, [this book] is essential reading right now. But it is also a book to relish at any time, both for its intelligence and grace, and its ability to edify and enchant in equal measure."—Minneapolis Star-Tribune