A true story about a spiritual journey and a complex relationship between a grieving woman and a goshawk: Helen Macdonald’s interest in falconry stems from a childhood obsession with birds and was encouraged by her father. When he passes away, she is overcome with grief and decides to retreat from her normal life and train her own goshawk. And so Mabel is acquired. But she is not a pet so much as a force to be negotiated with, and all romantic notions of the sport of falconry are banished. Macdonald has to tune into Mabel’s mind: her instincts, her priorities, her joys and fears. In so doing, Macdonald’s ordinary human concerns are stripped away into a more pared down existence. Her spiritual journey echoes that of T H White in The Goshawk, a book that has had some impact on a younger Macdonald. Her story operates on three levels: training a goshawk; a description of T H White’s attempts to do the same; and the author’s own personal journey trying to come to terms with her father’s death. Beautifully written, sensitive, intelligent and an absolute gem!