Thursday, December 30, 2010

Equinox: Life, Love, and Birds of Prey

Equinox: Life, Love, and Birds of Prey
by Dan O'Brien
Bison Books, 2010

Recently republished in paperback, this memoir about falconry is also an evocative immersion into life on the Dakota prairies.

"The heartbreak of western South Dakota is made greater by the country's mystic power to generate optimism," author Dan O'Brien writes. "Even people who have lived here their whole lives - and know better - find themselves counting on a chain of events that is completely beyond their control. Unpredictable weather is the big spoiler."

Set against the backdrop of his fiftieth birthday - a personal "equinox" - O'Brien tells the story of a year spent training hunting falcons. The relationships between man and raptors and hunting dogs are expertly described, providing an insightful look at a little-known sport and a unique way of living.

Glossary terms specific to raptors and falcony, such as "deck feathers" (the middle two feathers in a bird's tail) and "bate" (to fly from the fist or a perch and be brought up short by the leash) are defined in small inserts into the body of the text as they appear.

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Equinox: Life, Love, and Birds of Prey
Review: Equinox
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