- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Red Hen Press; 1 edition (November 1, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781597094603
- ISBN-13: 978-1597094603
- ASIN: 1597094609
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 33 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #727,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Lift Paperback – November 1, 2009
"O'Connor's love of the hawks infuses the story with an addictive, violent intensity." --Library Journal
About the Author
Rebecca K. O Connor had published essays in South Dakota Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Los Angeles Times Magazine, West, divide, and was a Pushcart Nominee for the 2008 Prize. Her novel, Falcon s Return was a Holt Medallion Finalist for best first novel and she has published numerous reference books on the natural world. She has an MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts from the University of California, Riverside.
As a professional animal trainer, O Connor has worked with a variety of exotic animals in zoos and private facilities around the United States and abroad. She has been a falconer for more than a decade and is a nationally known parrot behaviorist. Her book A Parrot for Life: Raising and Training the Perfect Parrot Companion was published in 2007 by TFH and went into a second printing in the first six months. She is also a nationally sought after lecturer at parrot clubs and parrot festivals.
In all of O'Connor s work she strives to illuminate or foil the human condition through the animals that surround us. Whether it is to give a science-based lecture, write a serious how-to book or crafting deeply personal prose, the foundation of everything in her life is a love for animals. She hopes that her life s work will help people understand the animals (including other humans) that surround them and relish their relationships."
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O'Conner heard the call of her quest as a child -- the dark wing beat of a peregrine falcon. And she followed it.
Falconry is an ancient art, still practiced mostly by men, and not easily undertaken. It is highly ritualized, with its own language and mystique. In Lift, O'Connor recounts her own hero's journey, her own adventures as she learns to slay the dragons of fear and self-doubt, all within the boundaries of her art.
An accomplished bird trainer as well as well-respected falconer, O'Connor is also an accomplished writer. Her memoir avoids self-pity and sentimentality with clean honest language. Her use of falconry terms such as "lure-flying" and "jesses" enhance her narrative rather than detract from it.
You don't have to be a falconer or even on a quest to enjoy Lift. O'Connor gives us a wonderful story of one woman's heroic journey. Here's hoping even more women will follow her splendid lead.
O'Connor has lived a fascinating and singular life... and she writes about it with great good humor, searing honesty, and a writing style that is original, lyrical, breathtaking. I began this book on a Sunday morning, couldn't put it down until I'd finished later that day. I knew nothing of falconry before I started reading this --if anything, I felt a vague distaste for it. Now I understand its power, both visceral and metaphoric, and how the sport honors the hunter and the hunted, nature and our place in it.
If you've appreciated memoirs by Mary Karr or Jeannette Walls, if you enjoy beautiful prose about the natural world, if you have an interest in birds, even if you fit into none of the above categories...do not miss this book. I read several books a week and this easily made it onto my "best of the year" list. I give it my highest recommendation, and hope that Ms. O'Connor (who is so wise and talented despite being so young) writes a companion volume that covers her years as a professional bird trainer and further explores her journey to becoming a master falconer.
The book is a memoir interwoven w/ Ms. O'Connor's efforts as a falconer, trying to train a young male peregrine. It's a small book - only 200 pages - and makes a pretty quick read. I admit I got bogged down and frustrated in the beginning when things were not going well w/ her hawk's training, but she writes very well, so I hung in there ... until I was totally absorbed and entranced and I was very, very sorry when I finished reading it.
Ms. O'Connor provides *breathtaking* descriptions of her peregrine's flights, wonderful insights into the world of falconry and the mystique of working with raptors ... and some extraordinary insights into the mind of a peregrine and the human world as well.
I'll likely give it a week or so, then go back and read it again.
I *highly* recommend this book!