On Pigeons, Dwellings and Why We Return
by Jon Day
Pub Date 13 Jun 2019
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'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.