Homing: On Pigeons, Dwellings and Why We Return

‘[Day has] succeeded in making that most familiar of birds seem mysterious, almost magical, and illuminated, brilliantly, the urge towards home’ Malachy Tallack ‘I love Jon Day’s writing and his birds. A marvellous, soaring account’ Olivia Laing ‘Every page of this beautifully written book brought me pleasure’ Charlotte Higgins 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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