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View Full Version : J A Baker. 'The Peregrine'


Skallagrimson
31-03-2010, 07:16 PM
Hello folks
Has anyone on here read this achingly beatiful diary of a winter watching Peregrines hunt?
If you have read it... do you have any ideas about it's style? it's 'truth' as a record? or is it perhaps a work of imagination? It was written when Peregrines were under the cosh from DDT..What is it's worth as an environmental warning?

Baker gives us almost no clue to himself (I think this is one of the great strengths of the writing.)

Haggard Tiercel
01-04-2010, 09:26 AM
When I read it (a long time ago) I took it to be a factual diary, not a work of fiction. I will try to read it again sometime.

Regards

Jan

Adstock
01-04-2010, 09:39 AM
Tony Huston has the film rights I believe, and had written a script. But that was at least 12 years ago and I have never heard of the project progressing. Probably not that fundable.

Skallagrimson
01-04-2010, 02:24 PM
When I read it (a long time ago) I took it to be a factual diary, not a work of fiction. I will try to read it again sometime.

Regards

Jan

It is my feeling too, though some of the writing is imaginative (he often describes things from a hawks point of view) and it has been suggested he made much of it up. (Not by me.)

Tony Huston has the film rights I believe, and had written a script. But that was at least 12 years ago and I have never heard of the project progressing. Probably not that fundable.

I would like to see a script written from the book, just to see how it could be done, I can't see the angle. Hawk hunts, sleeps, hunts, sleeps. Man finds kill. Sees bird. Man hates man. Hawk watches. It is a beautiful literary work, without the use of language there would be little left.

Stoops
01-04-2010, 03:05 PM
I think part of its appeal is the combination of literary style with detailed field notes – part poet and part twitcher - or right and left brain working together. So I take it to be generally ‘true’ in terms of the bald facts (possibly not always – there were some questionable details if I remember) but it is essentially one man's reveries and fascination with nature, beautifully told. And that would make it very challenging to render on film.

John

Skallagrimson
02-04-2010, 11:55 AM
right and left brain working together.

Yes, John, I really like that,
it is the poetry he overlays on his hard and detailed observation that really marks this as a special book. I love it more than almost any other nature writing.
Opened at random there is beauty...'Softly through the dusk the peregrine glides, hushing it aside with silent wings. He searches the constellations of small eyes, sees the woodcock's planetary eye look upward from the marsh, shafts back his wings, and plunges to the light.'

But the sadness Baker conveys on the pair with no eggs or young on the chalk cliffs really moves me too, (it was the reality for me as a boy as I watched them hunt Dunlin on Morecambe bay)
...'they seemed bored...they had no meaning....They drifted idly over the channels glittering water. They had no song. Their soaring was like an endless silent singing. What else had they to do? They were sea falcons now; there was nothing left keep them to the land. Foul poison burned within them like a fuse. Their life was lonely death, and would not be renewed. All they could do was take their glory to the sky. They were the last of their race.'
I would love to know if he (Baker) ever knew they had recovered from the brink.