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Vesper Flights (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

In one of the essays in this stunning book, the author refers to a scientist who as a child "had a talent for connecting things that were not obvious to others"—this phrase just as easily describes what Macdonald does with her writing. She weaves toegether seemingly disparate topics—Brexit and bird migration; migraines and climate change—reminding the reader that there are relationships everywhere, if only we look for them. Reading Vesper Flights is like putting on a pair of glasses that completely transforms your vision—everything goes from blurry smudges to crisp, clear beauty.

— Hannah DeCamp

September 2020 Indie Next List

“I wish I could give Vesper Flights twelve stars out of five. In this beautiful, loving, poignant portrait of a nature lover’s world — gosh, what an understatement — Helen MacDonald continues to prove herself a nature-writing powerhouse. Her literary skills make her a modern legend, and Vesper Flights is sure to touch as many hearts, if not more, than H Is for Hawk did.”
— Nikki F, Bookie's Chicago, Chicago, IL


Animals don't exist in order 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.

In Vesper Flights Helen Macdonald brings together a collection of her best loved essays, along 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 the massive migration of songbirds from the top of the Empire State Building, watching tens of thousands of cranes in Hungary, 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.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780802158673
ISBN-10: 0802158676
Publisher: Grove Press
Publication Date: July 13th, 2021
Pages: 336
Language: English