Part natural history, part folklore, part exploration of art and aesthetics, part memoir, Nest is a beautiful book that will appeal to bird lovers, readers of literature and art lovers alike. It's the perfect gift for your friend or yourself.
We tend to take birds for granted, in the landscape or in our neighbourhoods. The presence of birds communicates the health of a place. When they're gone, it's as though there's a hole in the sky, in the air, an absence of beauty and grace, and vivid chatter or haunting cries are replaced with eerie silence.
As an amateur naturalist and nature lover, Janine Burke, art historian and author, has spent many years observing birds. Nest: The Art of Birds is the story of her passion, a personal, wide-ranging and intimate book - part natural history, part folklore, part exploration of art and aesthetics, part memoir - that will appeal to all those who love nature, literature and art.
What are nests if not art created by nature? If a nest is not art, how can we account for those exquisite, painstakingly constructed creations that are decorated, or woven through with feathers, or studded with objects of a particular colour or sheen? Nest reveals both the art and mystery found in nature and celebrates them with lyricism, insight and great affection.
In the tradition of Longitude, Cod or The Cello Suites, Nest: The Art of Birds is a short education that encompasses celebration and theory, investigation and memoir, the familiar and the revelatory - as surprising and enticing as any beautiful, intricately constructed nest.
Janine Burke is an art historian, biographer, novelist and freelance curator. Between 1977 and 1982 she lectured in art history at the Victorian College of the Arts. Subsequently, she has been a fulltime writer and independent scholar. Currently, Dr Burke is a research fellow of Monash University in the School of English, Communications and Performance Studies. In 1987, she won the Victorian Premier's Award for fiction for her novel Second Sight. Her next novel, Company of Images was shortlisted for The Age Book of the Year award and the Miles Franklin Award.
She has written a groundbreaking series of books on the Heide circle, including Joy Hester, Australian Gothic: A Life of Albert Tucker which was shortlisted for the 2002 Queensland Premier's Literary Award and The Heart Garden: Sunday Reed and Heide. The Gods of Freud: Sigmund Freud's Art Collection, shortlisted for the 2007 NSW Premier's award for non-fiction, is the internationally acclaimed survey of Freud's personal collection.