Life, Love, and Birds of Prey

Dan O'Brien

232 pages
6 illustrations, 1 glossary


October 2010


$19.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

The South Dakota winter gives a man time to think. One subzero morning, as Dan O’Brien approaches his fiftieth year, the autumnal equinox of his life, he takes stock. Feeling a waning sense of purpose, he decides to devote himself entirely, for the first time in his life, to his greatest loves—falconry, his bird dogs, and the prairie he calls home.
That summer he obtains a remarkable falcon chick who immediately distinguishes herself by her ferocity. He names the bird Harley and trains her in the ways of falconry. Harley’s powers of flight are awe-inspiring, her hunting success astounding, and like a lover, she captivates him. O’Brien hunts with her obsessively, reveling in her prowess and beauty. What he learns from her and from what happens one wind-driven day lead him to see fully things he had only just begun to glimpse. In this lyrical evocation of the grasslands, Equinox is a story of a life lived close to the natural cycles of the earth and of a midlife revelation of the importance of staying connected to all things held dear.

Author Bio

Dan O’Brien is the author of numerous novels and memoirs, including Stolen Horses, available in a Bison Books edition, as well as Buffalo for the Broken Heart: Restoring Life to a Black Hills Ranch and The Contract Surgeon, winners of the Western Heritage Award for best nonfiction in 2001 and for best fiction in 1999, respectively. Buffalo for the Broken Heart was selected as the 2009 One Book South Dakota winner.


“An eye-opening chronicle of interspecies cooperation and a gripping dramatization of how hard-won is the ideal balance between tameness and wildness . . . beautifully wrought.”—Kirkus

“Dan O’Brien’s Equinox is an improbably beautiful book about the life of a falconer. By comparison, it makes nearly all other sporting books look childishly simple. I can’t recommend it too highly.”—Jim Harrison, author of Legends of the Fall

“It is O’Brien’s internal revelations—the intimacies and elemental components of his being—that make Equinox generous and fascinating: a beautiful book.”—Rick Bass, author of In the Loyal Mountains

“O’Brien keeps falcons pretty much at the center of things, so that his book gives what many a good book gives, a peek at a different way of living.”—Booklist

“O’Brien is one of the West’s stellar talents, and this is one of his finest books.”—Publishers Weekly

"Equinox is a lyrical tale about the revelations of life, a story we haven't heard before told in crystalline prose."—Sandy Amazeen, Monsters and Critics

Table of Contents

Dog Days
First Frost
Hunter's Moon

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