From the bestselling author of H is for Hawk, a brilliant and insightful work about our relationship to the natural world. Our world is a fascinating place, teeming not only with natural wonders that defy description, but complex interactions that create layers of meaning. Helen Macdonald is gifted with a special lens that seems to peer right through it all, and she shares her insights--at times startling, nostalgic, weighty, or simply entertaining--in this masterful collection of essays. From reflections on science fiction to the true story of an Iranian refugee's flight to the UK, Macdonald has a truly omnivorous taste when it comes to observations of both the banal and sublime. Peppered throughout are reminisces of her own life, from her strange childhood in an estate owned by the Theosophical Society to watching total eclipses of the sun, visits to Uzbek solar power plants, eccentric English country shows, and desert hunting camps in the Gulf States. These essays move from personal experiences into wider meditations about love and loss and how we build the world around us. Whether more journalistic in tone, or literary--even formally experimental--each piece is generous, lyrical, and speaks to one another. Macdonald creates a strong thematic undertow that quietly takes the reader along piece to piece and sets them down, finally, at a place they've never been before.
"In Vesper Flights, Helen Macdonald brings together a collection of her best loved essays 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 songbirds from the Empire State Building as they migrate through the Tribute of Light, watching tens of thousands of cranes in Hungary, and 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"