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More About This Title Nest


Part natural history, part folklore, part exploration of art and aesthetics, part memoir, a beautiful book that will appeal to bird lovers, readers of literature, and art lovers

As an amateur naturalist and nature lover, Janine Burke, art historian and author, has spent many years observing birds. Here is the story of her passion, a personal, wide-ranging, and intimate book 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 color or sheen? This book 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, this memoir is also 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 curator. Her novel Company of Images was shortlisted for both the Age Book of the Year award and the Miles Franklin. She is also the author of The Sphinx on the Table.


"Nest, Burke writes, is a word that 'conjures fundamental notions of home, family, privacy, shelter and rest.' Her book alights intelligently and compassionately on each of these ideas, and between its pages the reader is given pause to gaze up at the sky and marvel at the pelicans or sparrows flying overhead."  —Sydney Morning Herald"Burke offers intriguing musings on what art is and whether birds’ nests are truly artful creations." —Library Journal