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H is for Hawk
Winner of BookBrowse's 2015 Nonfiction Award.
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Fiction or nonfiction?

Created: 04/10/16

Replies: 11

Posted Apr. 10, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
vickys

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 28

Fiction or nonfiction?

Did you know the book was nonfiction when you read it and how did that influence your reading of it?


Posted Apr. 10, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
vickys

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 28

RE: Fiction or nonfiction?

When I started the book I was unaware it was a memoir. It seemed like a strange novel but I appreciated the comparison of White, the author's/main character's experience of training the hawk and the loss of her father. Once I knew it was a memoir I better understood how the hawk and the training fit into her attempt to move beyond her grief.


Posted Apr. 11, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1318

Expert

RE: Fiction or nonfiction?

Just a quick aside to say that those who've enjoyed H is For Hawk might want to look out for this book publishing in May: No Way But Gentlenesse: A Memoir of How Kes, My Kestrel, Changed My Life
https://www.bookbrowse.com/bb_briefs/detail/?ezine_preview_number=11491
(Davina, BookBrowse Editor)


Posted Apr. 11, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JAKL1

Join Date: 12/06/12

Posts: 55

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RE: Fiction or nonfiction?

I did not realize this was nonfiction when I was reading the book. I did enjoy the book regarding the training of the hawk.


Posted Apr. 12, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
KateB

Join Date: 02/11/16

Posts: 53

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RE: Fiction or nonfiction?

Interesting!
I'm not sure I would have enjoyed it as much if I thought it was fiction. To me it was important that it was non-fiction because otherwise I might have had a problem in believing she could really raise this hawk in her own home. That said, the writing is so strong that it has a fictional feel - definitely creative non-fiction!


Posted Apr. 12, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
pattys

Join Date: 09/17/11

Posts: 9

RE: Fiction or nonfiction?

I knew it was nonfiction before I read the book. I think that knowing this, it allowed me to better accept the long White passages that I sometimes found to interrupt the flow of the story.


Posted Apr. 13, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joanp

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 91

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RE: Fiction or nonfiction?

I knew it was non-fiction and expected it to be a record of training a goshawk. The personal story and references to T.H. White were a bonus.


Posted Apr. 13, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
BarbMJ

Join Date: 10/10/14

Posts: 11

RE: Fiction or nonfiction?

I knew it was nonfiction and would not have enjoyed the book as much if I thought it was fiction. Particularly the TH White sections would have kept me wondering about how real the info was.


Posted Apr. 13, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marganna

Join Date: 10/14/11

Posts: 90

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RE: Fiction or nonfiction?

When I requested the book I didn't know it was a memoir. I had the impression it was a mystery & I had wanted to read it for some time. To my delight I received it for First Impressions. I think I discovered it was non-fiction from the dust cover, maybe, or after a few pages when I went to the dust cover - at 1st I was a little disappointed that it was NOT a mystery but a memoir. However, that disappointment only lasted for a few brief pages - Helen Macdonald's writing is so beautiful.


Posted Apr. 14, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 130

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RE: Fiction or nonfiction?

I knew it was a memoir from all I had read about it before I chose to receive it for this discussion. But of course, memoirs are crafted, out of the same raw material as fiction. Memoir writers choose what to share and emphasize, and what to leave out, and they can choose the "timing" of what they tell us. I thought the author made some striking choices here. It's clear that she was already quite a loner, before her father's sudden death; I sensed that she chose to leave out a lot of "backstory" behind her initial grief, which almost seemed out of proportion for a grown woman losing her father. Had this been a novel, that would have made the character much less convincing. It's only further into the memoir that we learn her decision to train a goshawk grew out of earlier experiences with other kinds of hawks, so it wasn't quite as sudden and strange a challenge to take on. Her choices about how to work in her fascination with T.H. White were brilliant in how they revealed, indirectly at first and then more clearly as the book went on, her changing perspectives on White, and on her own grief. And as marganna said, her writing is so beautiful.


Posted Apr. 18, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
KateB

Join Date: 02/11/16

Posts: 53

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RE: Fiction or nonfiction?

JLPen77 makes a really interesting point here about the craft involved in this book. I wonder now about what she left out.

Funnily enough I just googled her to see how long a gap there was between her father's death and her writing this book (7 years from his death to its publication) and up popped her twitter feed. Given her social isolation, it really made me smile to read that yesterday she said she was having a day off and lying on her mum's sofa watching the Man from Uncle!


Posted Apr. 23, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Windsong

Join Date: 05/07/13

Posts: 70

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RE: Fiction or nonfiction?

I knew it was non fiction so I expected it to be a memoir. If it had been listed as fiction, I would have questioned the deep connection to her father and her self imposed exile, I think I might have found it too tedious. Since it is non fiction I realized that it takes patience to train a hawk. To my fellow readers I would advise that it takes patience to read this book because you will want to savor the writing and the descriptions of the English landscape.


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