Vesper Flights by Helen Macdonald

Publisher: Vintage

Publication Date: August 2020

Spring is perhaps a really fitting time to read Helen MacDonald’s ‘Vesper Flights’. Nature is beginning to awaken and chase winter away; new life is all around and the warmer days are arriving. Reading this collection of essays really made me aware of the world around me and, in particular, the song of birds. Admittedly, I know very little about the so many different species that exist but this book made me look towards the sky and listen.

With topics from mushroom picking to migraines, MacDonald is able to draw you in and make you feel as if you were listening and discussing ideas with the author herself. There were real moving moments of honesty. Reflections on humanities relationship with the natural world to the pressing concern of climate change and what it means for our collective future. I thought Macdonald’s exploration of ownership and entitlement, privilege and class were particularly insightful. It makes you consider your own attitude and previously held perceptions of how we treat and what we take from the natural world.

Helen MacDonald’s writing is incredibly sensitive and thoughtful; I was totally enraptured and in awe throughout. It was full of humour: the story of her father pushing the goat really made me laugh out loud whilst also having deeply moving moments of sadness. A truly incredible nature writer.


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