Reviews

  • Thrilling dispatches from a vanishing world... A powerful - and entertaining - corrective to the idea that the only hopes that matter on this planet are those of our own species.

    Tim Adams, Observer
  • Nature writing at its best... All kinds of wondrous... Each and every essay reminded me what a gifted writer Macdonald is. Her prose is poetry but it also has a drenching kind of a clarity. And this is good because we shouldn't allow ourselves to be lulled by the sheer pleasure of reading her. For these are urgent pieces designed to open our eyes.

    Caroline Sanderson, Bookseller *Book of the Month*
  • An antidote to so much romantic, reductive writing about the natural world... Macdonald's writing teems with other voices and perspectives, with her own challenges to herself. It muddies any facile ideas about nature and the human, and prods at how we pleat our prejudices, politics and desires into our notions of the animal world... Hers is a gritty, companionable intimacy with the wild... The essays...are short, varied and highly edible.

    Parul Sehgal, New York Times
  • Those who have read Helen Macdonald's memoir H is for Hawk will be familiar with her ability to weave together natural, cultural and personal history and to tease out the deeper meanings of our encounters with the wild... She applies her bright, sensitive prose to encounters with swifts and a solitary boar; to the magic of woods in winter or a chalk quarry dotted with glow-worms on a hot summer's night. Her capacity for wonder is infectious.

    New Statesman
  • An excellent collection... Macdonald is so joyously and excitedly in love with the natural world around her it is difficult not to share in this rapture, but so, too, in her sense of loss... Compelling and urgent.

    India Lewis, Arts Desk
  • [Macdonald's] prose is poetic but it also has a drenching clarity... These are urgent pieces designed to open our eyes to the parlous state of the environment... A vital book for now because it... shows us that in respecting this diversity lies both the joy and unity of our own species.

    Charlotte Heathcote, Sunday Express
  • Full of treasures... Couched in scientific learning... The pleasures of Vesper Flights are the pleasures of any literature; the lucidity of thought, the sensual tactility of the words (Macdonald can make you feel the bristle of the beetles that catch in her hair on a summer night), the comfort of the familiar and the thrill of the strange. But it is combined here with a real urgency, an awareness of our human imprint on the world and the damage that is doing.

    Teddy Jamieson, Herald Scotland
  • Vivid, deeply informed, emotionally charged... [Vesper Flights] can startle you.

    Richard Mabey, Telegraph
  • Helen Macdonald's series of studies...show a remarkable eloquence, intelligence and empathy... Unfailingly acute.

    Stuart Kelly, Scotsman
  • From reflections on her childhood love of animals to sharp observations on the migrations of songbirds, the author of H is for Hawk fills her essay collection with vivid appreciation for the wildlife that surrounds us.

    Time Magazine, *Summer Reads 2020*

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