Saturday, July 29, 2023

Seven books about daughters grieving their fathers

Kristina Busch is a lesbian writer living in Minnesota. She is an intern at Electric Literature, a prose editor for the Lumiere Review, and a staff editor at HerStry. She holds a BA in English from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

At Electric Lit Busch tagged "seven books [that] portray the fragile and complex relationships between fathers and daughters, and the shock as that bond is forever severed," including:
H Is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald

After the death of her photojournalist father, MacDonald makes a shift in her life and decides to train a young goshawk, a wildly misunderstood species of bird that faced near extinction hundreds of years ago. As she revisits T.H. White’s misguided 1951 book The Goshawk, MacDonald sees her own experience mirroring the author’s: the fear of making a vital mistake and risk the hawk loathing you, the projection of the child-self as the headstrong hawk and the adult-self as its empathetic and patient teacher. In this gripping, unflinching love letter to birds and falconry, MacDonald writes, “Some deep part of me was trying to rebuild itself, and its model was right there on my fist. The hawk was everything I wanted to be: solidarity, self-possessed, free from grief, and numb to the hurts of human life. I was turning into a hawk.”
Read about another entry on the list.

H Is for Hawk is among Raynor Winn's nine top nature memoirs, 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