LIFT, Rebecca K. O’Connor’s arresting memoir of love, loss, relationships and one impossible peregrine falcon is further illuminated with this collection of writings on the world of falconry. The opening short story, “A Good Falconer Lets Go,” about a teenage boy and his red-tailed hawk is a classic coming-of-age tale with a falconry twist. If you are a dog lover, “Heart to Tear” and “About a Dog”, essays which read like O’Connor’s love songs to the dogs of falconry will resonate with you, if not evoke a few tears. In short essays such as “The Knife” and “Storytelling” O’Connor explores early moments in falconry in the icy-clear voice readers grew to love in LIFT. The collection also includes a glossary on falconry and a bonus excerpt of her novel in progress, a post-apocalyptic wilderness adventure. If you have read LIFT and loved it, this short collection will add to your experience. If you’ve yet to read O’Connor’s writing, RISE may encourage you to read more.
Praise for LIFT:
Novelist and nature reference author O’Connor (Falcon’s Return) crafts a lyrical tribute to the spiritual connection between humans and birds in this memoir of the excruciating, transformative process of training a peregrine falcon: “Falconry is a religion, a way of thinking, a means of experiencing life.” Indeed, readers will find almost as much spiritual content as natural. Despite O’Connor’s icy-clear voice, her descriptions of training a young male falcon are fascinating for bird lovers and civilians alike: “when the falcon connects a high-speed dive… the duck remains a piece of the sky and only its body careens to earth.” Surprisingly, periodic flashbacks to a troubled childhood—an abusive stepfather, an absentee mother—bolster her story rather than distract, turning a falcon’s “serious and unmerciful” eye back on her own life, and discovering inexplicable wells of generosity and forgiveness for the family who wronged her. O’Connor packs a lot of intelligence, poise and feeling into a few pages, making this a consistently rewarding read. ~ Publishers Weekly (starred review)
O'Connor's love of the hawks infuses the story with an addictive, violent intensity.
Seeing through O’Connor’s eyes, we are elated. In Lift, a true picture takes shape as she trains her falcon “to trust me and then to set him free again.” Like Anakin, both reader and author begin to recognize the strength in her heart. ~Rain Taxi