Book review: Vesper Flights

Vesper Flights

Vesper Flights
by Helen Macdonald
Narrated by
Helen Macdonald
Grove Press
Recorded Books
288 pages


Buy the book

I was very impressed by Helen MacDonald’s previous book, H is for Hawk, even though I never took time to write a full review back then.
As I received Vesper Flights through (check for ways to get free audiobooks and support independent bookstores – excellent app!), here is my humble effort to convince you to listen to this one.

And indeed I did listen to Vesper Flights, just as I listened to H is for Hawk. The author herself narrates her own books, and she’s very good at it. Her intonation conveys nicely either the urgency of issues or the calming benefit of nature. She tends to have the same intonation at the end of most of her sentences, it may bother some listeners, but I ended up finding it calming.

H is for Hawk was very personal, as the author presented how her time and experience with a goshawk helped her overcome her grief at the sudden death of her father.

This present collection of about forty essays has some personal dimension, for instance when she relates about her childhood experience, but I found it opening broader horizons, on our current world, on the situation of the environment, or even on the political sphere.

Almost all essays deal with nature, birds for sure (do you know what a Vesper Flight is?), but not only (mushrooms, woods, goats, etc). They are short, easy to read, and yet they offer deep wisdom. Even though some show how alarming our environmental situation is, I found in them as a whole refreshing outlook on life, quite welcome these days. The following passage illustrates this point.

Vesper Flights p75

In many essays, MacDonald highlights the fact that animals exist and need to be considered in their own rights, and not as mirrors of humankind. She invites us to take time to observe truly, and change our perspective.

And obviously, I learned a lot, even on birds which I thought I knew well. I was actually aware of murmurations, but not of Vesper Flights!

VERDICT: Highly recommended for all lovers of nature, or simply for anyone eager to expand their horizon and read nourishing passages with a refreshing outlook on life.

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Any other great book focusing on nature?

In full compliance with FTC Guidelines, I received this audiobook free of charge for review through And as an ebook through Netgalley. I was in no way compensated for this post as a reviewer, and the thoughts are my own.

13 thoughts on “Book review: Vesper Flights

  1. Pingback: Nonfiction November: My Year 2020 in Nonfiction | Words And Peace

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