Monday, April 12, 2021

Nine top nature memoirs

Since traveling the South West Coastal Path, Raynor Winn has become a regular long-distance walker and writes about nature, homelessness and wild camping. Her first book, The Salt Path, was a Sunday Times bestseller and shortlisted for the 2018 Costa Biography Award. In The Wild Silence, Winn explores readjusting to life after homelessness. She lives in Cornwall with her husband Moth.

At Lit Hub Winn tagged nine books that reignited her connection to the wild, including:
Helen Macdonald, H is for Hawk

Then I encountered one book that offered much more than just a response to the natural world. The narrative chronicles one woman’s experience of grief and how that led to her finding the wild place within herself. For me, this book moved nature memoir from simple recollections of time spent in the outdoors to memoirs of an emotional response to nature.

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald is on one level a record of how she trained a goshawk, a mythical, mysterious, violent, beautiful bird of prey. But it is also the story of a woman drowning beneath a sea of grief following the death of her father. Macdonald writes of days spent together in a darkened room to months on windswept hillsides and in dank woods, the two become enmeshed in a wild bond. What emerges is a portrait of a powerful bird that may comply but will never be tamed and a woman who has become part bird herself, stronger, more resilient, free.
Read about another entry on the list.

H Is for Hawk is among Lit Hub's ten best memoirs of the decade, Sigrid Nunez's six favorite books that feature animals, Sam Miller's top ten books about fathers, Barack Obama's summer 2016 reading list, Jeffrey Lent's top ten books about justice and redemption, and Alex Hourston’s ten top unlikely friendships in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue