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  • John Murray
  • John Murray
  • John Murray
  • John Murray

Homing: On Pigeons, Dwellings and Why We Return

Jon Day

6 Reviews

Rated 0

Memoirs, Birds (ornithology), Natural history, Fishing, angling

A feral history of home, and our relationship with that most unloved bird.

'Big-hearted and quietly gripping' Guardian

'I love Jon Day's writing and his birds. A marvellous, soaring account'
Olivia Laing

'[A] beautiful book about unbeautiful birds' Observer

'This is nature writing at its best' Financial Times 'Every page of this beautifully written book brought me pleasure' Charlotte Higgins
'A vivid evocation of a remarkable species and a rich working-class tradition. It's also a charming defence of a much-maligned bird, which will make any reader look at our cooing, waddling, junk-food-loving feathered friends very differently in future' Daily Mail

'Endlessly interesting and dazzlingly erudite, this wonderful book will make a home for itself in your heart' Prospect As a boy, Jon Day was fascinated by pigeons, which he used to rescue from the streets of London. Twenty years later he moved away from the city centre to the suburbs to start a family. But in moving house, he began to lose a sense of what it meant to feel at home.

Returning to his childhood obsession with the birds, he built a coop in his garden and joined a local pigeon racing club. Over the next few years, as he made a home with his young family in Leyton, he learned to train and race his pigeons, hoping that they might teach him to feel homed.

Having lived closely with humans for tens of thousands of years, pigeons have become powerful symbols of peace and domesticity. But they are also much-maligned, and nowadays most people think of these birds, if they do so at all, as vermin.

A book about the overlooked beauty of this species, and about what it means to dwell, HOMING delves into the curious world of pigeon fancying, explores the scientific mysteries of animal homing, and traces the cultural, political and philosophical meanings of home. It is a book about the making of home and making for home: a book about why we return.

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Praise for Homing: On Pigeons, Dwellings and Why We Return

  • This beautiful book by an English lecturer-cum-pigeon fancier reveals eerie parallels between human and bird life ... [A] beautiful book about unbeautiful birds...Homing is a highly literary book, dense with quotes from the likes of Sebald and Solnit , Perec and Henry Green . That Day's own prose does not feel out of place amid such exalted company gives you an idea of what a very good book this is - Observer

  • Homing did something I thought would be impossible - made me fall in love with the humble, familiar feral pigeon. It is both a repository of fascinating stories and memorable characters, and a deeply felt personal enquiry into the nature of 'home'. Every page of this beautifully written book brought me pleasure - Charlotte Higgins

  • [Day has] succeeded in making that most familiar of birds seem mysterious, almost magical, and illuminated, brilliantly, the urge towards home - Malachy Tallack

  • Big-hearted and quietly gripping - Guardian

  • I love Jon Day's writing and his birds. A marvellous, soaring account - Olivia Laing

  • Day's stories from the history of human-pigeon relations are well chosen and well told ... there's a great deal to like in the simple imagery of a young family and their pigeons growing up together in an east London home - Literary Review

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