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Thursday, May 28, 2015

H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald (part 2)

The next stage is hunting. Macdonald loses, she says, her humanity while watching Mabel hunt. Although she has been an animal lover all her life, she enjoys the hawk's triumphs. 

Ironically, Macdonald says she regains her humanity by mercifully killing the prey that Mabel would have eaten live.

Macdonald's success in training her goshawk is punctuated by White's unsuccessful attempts to train his.

Then, one day, the hawk inexplicably attacks Helen. 

The injuries gives Helen several key realizations that are further affirmed when she speaks at her father's memorial service.

She had been losing herself--her humanity--while training the goshawk. 

What I liked best about this memoir is the honest description of  a tense human-animal relationship. The literary analyses, the historical asides, and Macdonald's astute discussion of depression and grieving process make this work even more significant.

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