Non Fiction

Goshawk Summer by James Aldred

This is a book that brings a side-effect of the pandemic into focus, although that is not the primary intended purpose. The author is commissioned to film the lives of a family of Goshawks in the New Forest at the start of 2020. This was when the first lingo entered the average public, and lockdowns began, as did the differing opinions on the rules to be followed.
This is still nothing to do with the core subject of this book, but the filming is to take place near the author’s childhood home, and he has a lot of memories of the place. He is allowed to go to work, and because of the odd hours he ends up keeping, he sees the eerie new world with no people outside first-hand. The entire project is a long one, and in between, there is the easing of the restrictions. All of this falls into the background when he focuses on the birds he is meant to film. He even has additional adventures with foxes and other smaller birds. I am not an enthusiast and have a very minimal understanding of the avian world, but I still appreciated the enthusiasm and the relatively new information I gathered through my reading.
The hard life of the people who bring that reclusive and vulnerable world to us sitting at home while ensuring they do not interfere in the natural order of things was also quite eye-opening. I obviously subconsciously knew that there must be hours of footage to bring us a half-hour or longer segment, but I marvel at their patience. Although the days are routine and the hours long, it did not feel like the book dragged over the period described. It was light with just the right amount of personal information, ruminating, and information about the world the author is observing.
I would have appreciated this book even more if I had been more invested in this aspect of nature. I recommend it to the average nature enthusiast ( being one myself).
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.


2 thoughts on “Goshawk Summer by James Aldred”

    1. oh thats too bad! i think it was purely the context in which this narrative took place. I am finidng it quite interesting to see how the lockdowns and pandemic feature in both fiction and non-fiction, everyone seems to be using (or not) in unique ways.


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