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The Comfort of Crows: A Backyard Year

The Comfort of Crows: A Backyard Year


Book Overview: The Comfort of Crows: A Backyard Year

From the beloved New York Times opinion writer and bestselling author of Late Migrations comes a "howling love letter to the world" (Ann Patchett): a luminous book that traces the passing of seasons, personal and natural.

In The Comfort of Crows, Margaret Renkl presents a literary devotional: fifty-two chapters that follow the creatures and plants in her backyard over the course of a year. As we move through the seasons--from a crow spied on New Year's Day, its resourcefulness and sense of community setting a theme for the year, to the lingering bluebirds of December, revisiting the nest box they used in spring--what develops is a portrait of joy and grief: joy in the ongoing pleasures of the natural world, and grief over winters that end too soon and songbirds that grow fewer and fewer.

Along the way, we also glimpse the changing rhythms of a human life. Grown children, unexpectedly home during the pandemic, prepare to depart once more. Birdsong and night-blooming flowers evoke generations past. The city and the country where Renkl raised her family transform a little more with each passing day. And the natural world, now in visible flux, requires every ounce of hope and commitment from the author--and from us. For, as Renkl writes, "radiant things are bursting forth in the darkest places, in the smallest nooks and deepest cracks of the hidden world."

With fifty-two original color artworks by the author's brother, Billy Renkl, The Comfort of Crows is a lovely and deeply moving book from a cherished observer of the natural world.

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PublisherSpiegel & Grau LLC
Publication Date2023
Dimensionsin x in x in
Weight lbs
Margaret Renkl is a distinguished American author and opinion writer recognized for her profound contributions in the field of contemporary literature and journalism. Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Renkl’s southern roots have greatly influenced her perspective of the world, an influence palpably present in both her writings and essays. Holding a Bachelor's degree in English from Auburn University and a Master's from the University of South Carolina, she's crafted her ability to weave touchingly humane tales with deep-seated cultural narratives. Primarily known for her debut novel, "Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss", Renkl expertly interlaces rich familial anecdotes with keen observations of nature, reflecting her deep adoration for the Southern homeland. This critically acclimated memoir, along with several other short writings, establish Renkl’s exquisite gift of finding an extraordinary essence within the ordinary. Her writings have graced the pages of renowned publications like The New York Times, where she serves as an esteemed opinion writer, along with Guernica, Literary Hub, Proximity, and Brevity. Margaret Renkl's reputation as a teller of deeply personal and evocative stories resonates with a wide spectrum of readers. Her work, basking in the beauty of simple, everyday life against the backdrop of the wondrous natural world, serves as a soothing ode to the South. Renkl’s unique narrative style inspires readers to find beauty in the mundane and appreciate the ordinary – a distinguished signature of her celebrated body of work.

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