Caspar Henderson

Fly Like a Bananaquit

Birds and People

By

Jonathan Cape 592pp £40 order from our bookshop

A Manx Shearwater was ringed as a three-month-old chick in its Welsh nest burrow. Fourteen days later the same bird arrived, unaccompanied by any of its kin, in its species’ usual winter quarters off the coast of Argentina, some 8,000 kilometres away. ‘An individual bird may repeat that same oceanic journey, back and forth, 100 times’ before it dies. In Victorian London the owner of a coaching inn at Elephant and Castle kept a raven. ‘The bird was also friendly with a number of the drivers and would set out on short happy excursions perched on top of their coaches, switching vehicles whenever an inbound driver happened to pass to take him back to the inn.’ Once home, the raven would consort with his closest friend, a large pet dog in the stables.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Pollan has no doubt that the use of psychedelics could have a powerfully beneficial effect on a range of condition… ,
    • A memoir about an Untouchable family and the 'formation of modern India': 'Ants among Elephants' by @gidla_sujatha… ,
    • RT : First founded in Edinburgh in 1979, is considered a trusted independent source for reviews of new book… ,
    • 'In different ways Hatherley makes gritty Lódź and poor old which-country-are-we-in-this-week Lviv sound entrancing… ,
    • In this issue Lucy Popescu discusses the miscarriages of justice occurring in the investigation over Maltese journa… ,
    • 'Rodin’s fascination with ancient Greek sculpture is part of a long and distinguished French tradition.' A review o… ,
    • The New Testament, in a new translation by David Bentley Hart, reviewed by Salley Vickers ,