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Publisher's Summary

Animals don’t exist in order to teach us things, but that is what they have always done, and most of what they teach us is what we think we know about ourselves. 

In Vesper Flights, Helen Macdonald brings together a collection of her best loved essays, along with new pieces on topics ranging from nostalgia for a vanishing countryside to the tribulations of farming ostriches to her own private vespers while trying to fall asleep. Meditating on notions of captivity and freedom, immigration and flight, Helen invites us into her most intimate experiences: observing the massive migration of songbirds from the top of the Empire State Building, watching tens of thousands of cranes in Hungary, seeking the last golden orioles in Suffolk’s poplar forests. She writes with heart-tugging clarity about wild boar, swifts, mushroom hunting, migraines, the strangeness of birds’ nests, and the unexpected guidance and comfort we find when watching wildlife. 

By one of this century’s most important and insightful nature writers, Vesper Flights is a captivating and foundational book about observation, fascination, time, memory, love and loss and how we make sense of the world around us. 

©2020 Helen Macdonald (P)2020 Recorded Books

What listeners say about Vesper Flights

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Pure delight

Reading the title essay, printed in the NYT before the book's publication, I was floored by the beauty, depth, and clarity of Macdonald's writing. The rest of the book was equally impressive, and made richer by the author's pitch-perfect reading.

7 people found this helpful

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Total delight - do get this book!

What a pleasure to dip and soar through these reflections on nature, animals, birds, perception, love, grief, and so much more. Each essay was quite different, but the overall collection was knit together beautifully. The language was stunning (Helen is also a poet). And humor was everywhere! A further pleasure: the author reading the book. Her voice with its gentle accent made the experience of listening to it feel all the more personal. She’s a gracious, self-deprecating, and very funny person.

This is a perfect book for enhancing your own experience of engaging with the natural world. The essay form allows you to dip into bits of writing, ideal for calming down at the end of the day or taking a break.

3 people found this helpful

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The best narrator

This is my second Helen Macdonald audible. Frankly, I think I am as entranced by her performance as I am by her writing. She is simply a magnificent narrator. I hope she will always read her own work.

2 people found this helpful

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A meditation on the real world, as a human visitor

So beautifully written I dissolved again into the wonders and fears of childhood, and discovered myself not to be alone in that edge of the world so tuned to the wildlife among us.

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Liked this book very much!

This book is really something...very special. I very much enjoyed the stories and found the narration to be excellent. I learned so much about birds and Great Britain, and especially enjoyed the author's philosophical insights to our relationship with other animals.

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Will put you to sleep.

Yeah.. It is pretty painful I cannot lie. The author is talking about how she relates her observations in nature to political affairs and worldly issues. Take a double shot every time she mentions crying and it might become tolerable.

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Insightful,funny,thought-provoking

Absolutely fantastic. Opens your senses to the snimal world in a very different way highlighting how we share this planet and how important it is to value the earth and its inhabitants. We are all sojourners here and have our own purpose. Excellent comparisons within the context of our lived socioeconomicpolitical experiences and our stewardship of the earth and all of its inhabitants.

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Stupendous.

Extraordinary. Exquisite. Profound. Macdonald puts into precise words her authentic experiences of herself and the natural world. She also is a gifted audio narrator with a deep and lilting voice.

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Beautiful Reflections

Love this collection. Helen Macdonald is such a marvelous writer and narrator. Can't imagine listening to her words spoken by anyone else. Tremendously honest, heartfelt, and funny. Every reflection has something about it - large or small - that's moving. A great companion for long walks. Looking forward to her next work.