A Memoir of Two Fathers and a Magpie
H is for Hawk meets The Duke of Deception in this wry, moving story of a young man who, as his estranged father is dying, saves a baby magpie only to find that caring for the mischievous bird has, in fact, saved him.
One spring day, a baby magpie falls out of its nest and into Charlie Gilmour’s hands. Magpies, he soon discovers, are as clever and mischievous as monkeys. They are also notorious thieves, and this one quickly steals his heart. By the time the creature develops shiny black feathers that inspire the name Benzene, Charlie and the bird have forged an unbreakable bond.
While caring for Benzene, Charlie comes across a poem written by his biological father, an eccentric British poet named Heathcote Williams who vanished when Charlie was six months old. As he grapples with Heathcote’s abandonment, Charlie is drawn to the poem, in which Heathcote describes how an impish young jackdaw—like magpies, also a member of the crow family—fell from its nest and captured his affection. Over time, Benzene helps Charlie unravel his fears about repeating the past—and embrace the role of father himself.
A bird falls, a father dies, a child is born. Featherhood is the unforgettable story of a love affair between a man and a bird. It is also a beautiful and affecting memoir about childhood and parenthood, captivity and freedom, grief and love.