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On sale

13th June 2019

Price: £21.99

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Selected: Audiobook Downloadable / ISBN-13: 9781529319491

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

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

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 means 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.

(P)2019 Hodder & Stoughton Limited


Charlotte Higgins
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
Jonathan Raban
In this lucid and beguiling book, Jon Day has written marvellously interwoven tale of our two species
Olivia Laing
I love Jon Day's writing and his birds. A marvellous, soaring account
Mail on Sunday
A meditation that swoops agilely over topics from tyranny of technology to the paradoxes of parenting and the rewards of simply staying put. . . . A joyful, richly rewarding book
The Guardian
Big-hearted and quietly gripping
Daily Mail
[A] Vivid evocation of a remarkable species and a rich working-class tradition...a charming defence of a much-maligned bird
Literary Review
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
The Observer
This beautiful book by an English lecturer-cum-pigeon fancier reveals eerie parallels between human and bird life ... [A] beautiful book about unbeautiful birds
Jon Day takes on the humble racing pigeon to ask just what home is, how we establish it, miss it and depart and return to it. He elevates this heroic bird to its rightful place in natural history and our history too, and celebrates its shared instinct with us for home... the art his own family and academic career... He has many fascinating accounts of how we've exploited these miraculous birds' homing instincts in war and peace... Day swoops and soars over many fields of art and science to unravel our instinct for home
Prospect Magazine
Endlessly interesting and dazzlingly erudite, this wonderful book will make a home for itself in your heart
Daily Telegraph
'A terrific book which explores the sport inside out, as well as our own human concept of what home is'
Andrew O'Hagan
I totally love Jon Day's new book Homing. For people who recognise that feeling familiar to Freud, of being homesick for nowhere, Jon's sense of making a particular home, or of knowing your way back to one, is a miracle-narrative of birds and men. Humane and beautifully navigated, it is hands down a book of the year
Precise and poignant
Mail on Sunday
A compelling blend of personal memoir, nature writing and popular science, Day's book considers the humble pigeon, probably our oldest companion species.
Prospect Magazine
A dazzlingly erudite memoir about family, children and pigeon-fancying. An unlikely combination perhaps, but Day pulls it off.