Friday, August 25, 2023

H is for Hawk

 I just read this book by Helen McDonald.  It is hard to describe: part memoir of loss after her father's death; part her experience of training a goshawk so she can be a falconer; part thoughtful examination of the life and writing of T.H. White author of The Sword in the Stone.

White had a troubled life, a homosexual man in a time when this was still regarded as a bad, low status.  While McDonald is careful not to say anything too unPC, she several times alludes to White's abusive childhood and schooling in England:

"Despite several affairs with women, White's fantasies were sadistic and directed mostly at pubescent boys."  He was certain that these fantasies were because of his abusive rearing and education.

The writing is topnotch.  There is a bit of falconry jargon that she does not explain but you figure it out contextually.

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