The Peregrine

The Peregrine From autumn to spring J A Baker set out to track the daily comings and goings of a pair of peregrine falcons across the flat fen lands of eastern England He followed the birds obsessively observing

  • Title: The Peregrine
  • Author: J.A. Baker
  • ISBN: 9780140030594
  • Page: 492
  • Format: Paperback
  • From autumn to spring, J.A Baker set out to track the daily comings and goings of a pair of peregrine falcons across the flat fen lands of eastern England He followed the birds obsessively, observing them in the air and on the ground, in pursuit of their prey, making a kill, eating, and at rest, activities he describes with an extraordinary fusion of precision and poetryFrom autumn to spring, J.A Baker set out to track the daily comings and goings of a pair of peregrine falcons across the flat fen lands of eastern England He followed the birds obsessively, observing them in the air and on the ground, in pursuit of their prey, making a kill, eating, and at rest, activities he describes with an extraordinary fusion of precision and poetry And as he continued his mysterious private quest, his sense of human self slowly dissolved, to be replaced with the alien and implacable consciousness of a hawk.It is this extraordinary metamorphosis, magical and terrifying, that these beautifully written pages record.

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    About “J.A. Baker

    • J.A. Baker

      John A Baker lives with his wife in Essex He has had assorted jobs, including chopping down trees and pushing book trolleys in the British Museum In 1965 he gave up work and lived on the money he had saved, devoting all his time to his obsession the peregrine He re wrote his account of this bird five times before submitting it for publication Although he had no ornithological training and had never written a book before, when The Peregrine was published in 1967 it was received with enthusiastic reviews and praise for his lyrical prose Later that year he was awarded the distinguished Duff Cooper prize He was also awarded a substantial Arts Council grant His second book, The Hill of Summer, was published in 1969 and was also received with unanimous praise by the critics.

    445 thoughts on “The Peregrine

    • I spent some time in December on a virtual walk across a ten by twenty mile area trailing J A Baker as he in turn trailed a couple of peregrine hawks over the fenlands and the estuaries of east Anglia. Of course, my virtual walk was conducted from the comfort of my fireside and only lasted ten days whereas Baker was outdoors in all weathers in pursuit of his prey, and his walk lasted from October to March when the Peregrines migrate to Scandinavia for the summer months. "The Peregrine", first pu [...]

    • This is just the most wonderfully poetic account of one man's year long exploration of the lifestyle of peregrines in the unnamed yet I assumed East Anglian area of the mid 1960's. Just beautiful. On almost every page there is a wonderful simile or collective noun and his prose is the stuff for which fruity voices were made. He does stray on a number of occasions into prose so purple a whole college of Bishops could dress themselves in it but there are so many breathtaking phrases that I could f [...]

    • The writing is exceptional. For this reason alone, it is worth reading. Nature writing that is prose poetry filled with synaesthetic imagery. The reader becomes one with a peregrine. I was told the book would infuse me with such a feeling, and it does. Yet, not more than three stars? I liked the book. All in all, it wasn't amazing or even very good, and so it must be given three stars.It is extremely difficult to listen to hours and hours of lines that say approximately the same thing, even if t [...]

    • Un libro arduo. No tiene trama aristotélica, ni argumento al modo formalista ruso, pero impone una estética fuerte, bien definida. Su lenguaje es exuberante pero preciso. Es descriptivo, colorido, cinético, erudito. Se trata de una lectura difícil que ofrece mucho si el lector logra procesar sus exigencias. Inglaterra, década de 1960, geografía baja, pantanosa, del este británico, la mirada puesta en la naturaleza salvaje. El narrador describe con laconismo sus paseos de observación del [...]

    • Nunca se me hubiera ocurrido, creo, pensar a la luz del sol que se filtra por las ramas de los árboles como columnas. Columnas de sol. O imaginar a la niebla como un pelaje al filo de los campos. Estas y otras altísimas y mejores imágenes van llenando el increíble libro de Baker, quien obsesionado con el halcón peregrino, lo persigue por las zonas selváticas de Inglaterra hasta convertirse en uno. Hacia el final, el yo que construye Baker, integrado totalmente a la naturaleza, transformado [...]

    • I read an article about this book recently, celebrating the 50th anniversary of its publication. theguardian/books/201The book is every bit as stunning as the article suggests. It was written as an elegy for these beautiful raptors, which 50 years ago were on the brink of extinction in the UK because of pesticides. Fortunately things have changed since then and the Peregrine is now safe again. The book is the result of 10 years of observation, distilled into one period from autumn, through winte [...]

    • Un libro extraño, de lectura difícil y repleto de metáforas precisas, inusuales, barrocas pero concretas. Es un diario de observación de pájaros y halcones peregrinos en los fens, la zona baja y pantanosa del este de Inglaterra, entre octubre y abril de un año de la década del sesenta. Carece de estructura dramática. Aunque el autor habla muy poco de él, intuimos que algo muy serio lo aleja del pueblo hacia el campo y las marismas. Baker se muestra fascinado y deseoso de compartir la ex [...]

    • Peregrines are one of the most impressive apex predators in this country, but it is one that we almost lost because of pesticides and persecution. They are bold, confident birds, fearing nothing else and can also claim to be the world’s fastest animal as they have been recorded at speeds in excess of 200mph in their stoop to kill their prey. Two things saved them, the banning of pesticides and they moved from the rural to the urban environment, skyscrapers replacing the cliff top eyries. Half [...]

    • So when I get the Higgs boson blues something terrible and I am in a bad spot or life is just clinching its merciless little fist around me and squeezing squeezing something that always, without fail, cheers me up and/or sets my head a little straighter on neck is watching David Attenborough's nature specials- especially "The Life of [fill in the blank with type of animal here]" I love David Attenborough and like 1200 hours worth of his material is available to stream on Netflix and I can just s [...]

    • Sometimes you read a book to find out "what happened?". Othertimes, you read as a kind of immersion process, to sink into a realm not your own and abide its rules and orders. This book is definitely suited for the latter kind of reading. There is no real plot to this book; it is, like much lyric poetry, interested in the nowness of its subjects rather than in the progress of the reader's journey. This book really is more about the writer's relationship to nature in general and the peregrine in p [...]

    • this book will go in my best books I ever read shelf, and I will read it again and again. It will sit right beside Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. The Peregrine is J.A. Baker's season walking beneath, watching, learning from, hearing, and being a part of wild nature. He trailed peregrines in eastern England, down by the bottom of the country over ploughed fields, estuaries, woodland paths, fields, farms, towns, and in the process also watched and was part with hundreds of other birds, f [...]

    • I've wanted to read this book for a while now, quite a few other nature books I've read have been inspired by this book, glad I gave it a go as it was a beautifully written book, almost poetic at times. Baker goes into great detail about the countryside, other animals and every aspect of the peregrines life. J. A. Baker was diagnosed as being very ill so he decided to dedicate his life to stalking these peregrines he had spotted. In the end he does start to go feral, at times when writing about [...]

    • Few books dance with language the way The Peregrine does. The story is simple enough:a man spends his winters tracking peregrines over the marshes, fields, and estuaries of eastern England. But that man, J.A. Baker, accomplishes something rare in the history of nature writing—he immerses himself so deeply in his search that he becomes the very thinghe seeks, finally coming to see the “pouring-away world of no attachment” through the peregrine’s eyes. The transformation is startling, luci [...]

    • A stirring account of one man's year long relationship with one of my favorite animals on earth - the peregrine falcon. So hard to review, this book is so beautiful and at the same time so completely repetitive. It crosses so many genres; it's like a nearly 200 page prose poem that is part memoir, part natural history, part travel narrative. The use of language is striking, and there are so many wonderful passages, but as the book moves along it's hard not to feel that all the pages sort of blen [...]

    • Un libro interesante, que por momentos se puede volver un tanto pesado, pero esta lleno de poesía, pero la poesía involuntaria de los que no saben que la poseen. Una persona avista aves que asume ya no volverán. Sus notas al respecto, un diario formalmente dicho, se despliegan en estas páginas.En el contexto de la errática edición de Sigilo esto debe ser de lo mejor que tienen.

    • When J.A. Baker published this book in 1967, it turned the world of birding upside down. He was not a naturalist or a previously published birder. He was, by his own admission, new to birding and his book is based on diaries he kept of ten years of following a pair of peregrine hawks in the fields and marshes of Essex near Chelmsford, in Kent his home in England. These are not day to day reminiscences but rather a detailed compilation of the ten years written in astoundingly beautiful prose poet [...]

    • Reading The Peregrine, stopped me in my tracks. As a writer, I became caught up in the incredible structure of Baker's sentences. Anyone who writes should take the time to read this short and gorgeous book. I read sentences aloud to my family touched by the soaring of his language and the world he watched. "Plovers volleyed from the fields and fretted the horizon with the dark susurrus of their wings." Read it again. Through out the book, Baker brings alive all of the senses together in one set [...]

    • No other way to put it: This book is a treasure of the English language. In The Peregrine J.A. Baker describes how he tracked and trekked over months and miles in his native England to watch and record in language like you've never read how peregrines hunt and feed and fly and play and rest. The language he uses to construct his sentences is like none other I have ever read. It's a vivid mix of nature writing and the best poetry. The text is so dense, the sentences are so packed with words bring [...]

    • Werner Herzog recommends that you read this book if you want to learn how to make films. After reading this, I'm not sure I'm now completely ready to make the next indie filmEVER-if you want to learn about what it's like to fall in love with a wild thing, to get inside the mind of a hawk, and get thoroughly schooled on how to write beautiful, luscious, descriptive prose, this book is the best example of why we love wild things and how to become a better writer too.After I get a copy for my shelf [...]

    • "His eyes were fixed on my face, and his head turned as he went past, so that he could keep me in view. He was not afraid, nor was he disturbed when I lowered and raised my binoculars or shifted my position. He was either indifferent or mildly curious. I think he regards me now as part hawk, part man; worth flying over to look at from time to time, but never wholly to be trusted; a crippled hawk, perhaps, unable to fly or to kill cleanly, uncertain and sour of temper"

    • This is a really wonderful book. Incredibly poetic nonfiction about a man who follows peregrines through the countryside through the seasons. And that's it - that is the story. Throughout the book, the narrator becomes a part of the landscape of the hawks and seems to become one as well. The book's repetitions and poetry bring us back to an older world of sagas. This is not a "modern" book at all. It is a book about how nature can transform us with that rare commodity - attention.

    • I liked this book a great deal. I know the country described here and I have always been fascinated by the bird and animal life here. He evokes the mystery of the peregrine in an area that many would dismiss as either suburban (which it is on the fringes) or low flat land with little topographical interest. The author manages to combine a near mystical evocation of a predatory bird with vivid and perceptive writing about the Essex landscape. It is unmissable and a book to which I return.

    • It is not a comforting book. It is also a book that does a better job at describing a confrontation with an alien mind than most of the SFF I've read. It is, too, so beautifully written that I caught myself reading passages aloud.

    • I have really mixed feelings about this book. It's a classic, and stuffed with beautiful, incredibly well observed images and descriptions. So, in detail, it's wonderful. It often reads like the best of nature poetry. However, as a narrative it's boring and repetitive. There is slaughter on every page: the inevitable event each day is that peregrines kill again. And again. And yet again. It is an unremitting chronicle of hunger assuaged. There is a lot of splendidly described flight. There are m [...]

    • This is a very subjective 3 stars. His prose deserves 5 stars, easily -- it's amazing. Beautiful, fresh, vivid early on, I was loving it. But as the pages went by, I found it all quite samey. I needed some narrative rather than diary entries in which only the seasons really changed. That's very personal, so if that's your kind of thing, you will love this as the prose is some of the most poetic I've come across.

    • העלילה בספר הזה, אם אפשר לקרוא לה עלילה, מתאימה את עצמה לזמנו של הטבע וחילופי העונות. היא מרובה חזרות, תיאורי נוף ודרמות מהירות חוזרות ונשנות בדמות קטילות שקוטלים הבזים. למעשה פרקי היומן הקצרים האלה הם יותר שירה מאשר סיפור. בדומה לקריאת שירה, גם קריאתו של ספר זה הצטיינה באיטיו [...]

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