3 July 2014
Published by Allen & Unwin
We tend to take birds for granted, in the landscape or in our neighbourhoods. The presence of birds communicates the health of a place. When they’re gone, it’s as though there’s a hole in the sky, in the air, an absence of beauty and grace, and vivid chatter or haunting cries are replaced with eerie silence.
As an amateur naturalist and nature lover, Janine Burke, art historian and author, has spent many years observing birds. Nest is the story of her passion, a personal, wide-ranging and intimate book – part natural history, part folklore, part exploration of art and aesthetics, part memoir – that will appeal to all those who love nature, literature and art.
What are nests if not art created by nature? If a nest is not art, how can we account for those exquisite, painstakingly constructed creations that are decorated, or woven through with feathers, or studded with objects of a particular colour or sheen? Nest reveals both the art and mystery found in nature and celebrates them with lyricism, insight and great affection.
In the tradition of Longitude, Cod or The Cello Suites, Nest is a short education that encompasses celebration and theory, investigation and memoir, the familiar and the revelatory – as surprising and enticing as any beautiful, intricately constructed nest.
A pacey, perceptive and engaging read. The anecdotes, observations, literary references and illustrations are insightful.
Sydney Morning Herald
An elegant and unexpectedly engrossing journey through the lives of birds... Nest, Burke writes, is a word that "conjures fundamental notions of home, family, privacy, shelter and rest." Her book alights intelligently and compassionately on each of these ideas, and between its pages the reader is given pause to gaze up at the sky and marvel at the pelicans or sparrows flying overhead.