"The Peregrine" is the most incredible thing I've read in a long time, maybe ever. Both for the writing, and for the experiences that the writing coveys. It begins with two brief chapters, the first about watching, and the second about the form and habits of Peregrine Falcons. These are followed by Baker's diary entries as he follows a pair over the countryside near his home in Essex, England during a winter in the 1960's.
He observed them very closely, with enormous patience and effort. He wanted to join with them, to become one if he could, as though one of Ovid's metamorphoses could be brought about by sheer willpower. He got at least halfway there. This is not a normal book. It is a voice from another world.
A more or less random sample:
"He climbed vertically upward, like a salmon leaping in the great waves of air that broke against the cliff of South Wood. He dived to the trough of a wave, then rose steeply within it, flinging himself high in the air, on stretched wings exultant. At five hundred feet he hung still, tail closed, wings curving far back with their tips almost touching the tip of his tail. He was stooping horizontally forward at the speed of the oncoming wind. He rocked and swayed and shuddered, close-hauled in a roaring sea of air, his furled wings whipping and plying like wet canvas. Suddenly he plunged to the north, curved over to the vertical stoop, flourished his wings high, shrank small and fell.
He fell so fast, he fired so furiously from the sky to the dark wood below that his black shape dimmed to grey air, hidden in a shining cloud of speed. He drew the sky about him as he fell. It was final. It was death. There was nothing more. There could be nothing more. Dusk came early. Through the almost dark, the fearful pigeons flew quietly down to roost above the feathered bloodstain in the woodland ride."