What to expect

‘One of the best books I have ever read. Incredibly moving’ Elton John

‘I cant recommend it too highly’ Helen Macdonald

‘Ranks among the best modern coming-of-age memoirs’ Sunday Times

‘Where Helen Macdonald’s H Is For Hawk meets Gerald Durrell’s My Family And Other Animals … Remarkable’ Daily Mail

‘Beautiful, wise, compassionate and powerful’ Isabella Tree

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.

‘An incisive, funny and at times traumatic study of the damage done by destructive father-son relationships and the struggle to smash generational cycles’ Evening Standard

‘A personal reckoning which is simultaneously brutal and joyous. I was entranced’ Cathy Rentzenbrink

‘A beautiful book – it made me cry’ Simon Amstell

Critics Review

  • Featherhood is one of the best books I’ve ever read. I urge you to seek it out, buy it, and be enchanted. It’s incredibly moving and I loved every single page

    Elton John
  • The best piece of nature writing since H is for Hawk, and the most powerful work of biography I have read in years. It announces Charlie Gilmour as a major new writing talent

    Neil Gaiman
  • Wonderful – I can’t recommend it too highly

    Helen Macdonald, author of H IS FOR HAWK
  • Beautiful, wise, compassionate and powerful, Featherhood is one of those rare, enchanted books that sings to the soul of what it is to be

    Isabella Tree, author of WILDING
  • What a book! I was entranced. A personal reckoning which is simultaneously brutal and joyous. It’s full of light. I want to tell everyone about it

    Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of THE LAST ACT OF LOVE
  • This stunning memoir flashes with as many colours as its enchanting subject, and draws us into a world of eccentric characters impossible to predict or forget. Savage, mischievous, moving, sublime

    Rhik Samadder, author of I NEVER SAID I LOVED YOU

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