In the warm, womb-like space of the cottage, the light from the open fire flickers and casts dull shadows of birds across the wall. On my gloved hand, a slender, lightweight and beautifully patterned female sparrowhawk. To my left, a smaller but no less impressive male. Both hawks emanate a quiet, self-contained calm. A fine balance of precision and coiled unsparing instinct, all contained within a gossamer skein of feather, skin, muscle and bone. They remind me of that thin slither of a moment just before a jack-in-the-box pops. Months ago these hawks arrived, via a vet, from the wild, injured. To have them legally in my possession is a rare pleasure.
Top Reads of 2019
Her Left Hand, The Darkness
Alison Smith on the week she spent with Ursula K. Le Guin.
Charlie Parker Plays Bossa Nova
This surreal tale from Haruki Murakami circles a Charlie Parker album that never existed. Translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel.
A monastic community persists after a ‘great chaos and collapse’ in this story by the 2018 Nobel Prize for Literature laureate, Olga Tokarczuk. Translated from the Polish by Jennifer Croft
Two poems from Rebecca Tamás’ collection WITCH.
On High Heels and Lotus Feet
Summer Brennan on high heels, foot-binding, and our ongoing performances of gender.