Featherhood: On Birds and Fathers by Charlie Gilmour

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Description

This is a story about birds and fathers.

About the young magpie that fell from its nest in a Bermondsey junkyard into Charlie Gilmour’s life – and swiftly changed it. Demanding worms around the clock, riffling through his wallet, sharing his baths and roosting in his hair…

About the jackdaw kept at a Cornish stately home by Heathcote Williams, anarchist, poet, magician, stealer of Christmas, and Charlie’s biological father who vanished from his life in the dead of night.

It is a story about repetition across generations and birds that run in the blood; about a terror of repeating the sins of the father and a desire to build a nest of one’s own.

It is a story about change – from wild to tame; from sanity to madness; from life to death to birth; from freedom to captivity and back again, via an insane asylum, a prison and a magpie’s nest.

And ultimately, it is the story of a love affair between a man and a magpie.

‘The best piece of nature writing since H is for Hawk, and the most powerful work of biography I have read in years’ Neil Gaiman

‘Wonderful – I can’t recommend it too highly’ Helen Macdonald

‘One of those rare, enchanted books’ Isabella Tree

‘Beautiful – it made me cry’ Simon Amstell

‘I was entranced’ Cathy Rentzenbrink