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Featherhood by Charlie Gilmour.

Posted by Dathaí books@dinglebookshop.com on

Charlie's father was a notorious and charismatic eccentric, a successful writer, talented painter, actor and magician, and he walked away for good when Charlie was barely born. His father was Heathcote Williams, and Featherhood is about trying to find him in amongst the fictions and fantasies that Heathcote clothed himself with.

And it is about Charlie's pet magpie Benzene whose eccentricity and affection helps Charlie to refocus his life – and, in a way, find a connection with Heathcote (who himself kept a corvid – in his case a jackdaw).

And it is about David Gilmour, of Pink Floyd, who adopted Charlie when David married his mother, and who rescued Charlie from no end of alarums and scrapes, including a spell in gaol for damaging the Cenotaph and leaping onto the bonnet of Prince Charles' limo.

But above all Featherhood is about Charlie's journey as he struggles for peace with himself, and acceptance of Heathcote, with the help of David, his newly-discovered sisters, and the magpie.

This is a witty, clear-sighted book which is rightly compared to Helen Macdonald's H is for Hawk in its lyricism and insightful quality, and in the way the author deploys a bird in order to speak right from the heart.

Mike Venner