Hawk Flies Above:
Journey to the Heart of the Sandhills

Published by Picador USA/St. Martin’s Press. Hardcover and Tradepaper.

Rarely is the story of childhood and its loss told as gracefully as it is in this book. Set in the rolling prairie dunes of Nebraska, Hawk Flies Above captures an idyllic time and place, seen through the dreaming eyes of a child and the experienced eyes of a wounded woman who returns home to heal herself.

Lisa Norton grew up in the late 1950s and 60s, spending summers with her father, mother, brother, grandparents, and friends at Lake Ericson, a reservoir of rich life set deep in the Sandhills. Describing her family’s history, and the magical environment of the lake—mown paths through tall grass, a swinging bridge, a secret garden, herons and fish and dragonflies and plants—Norton evokes a version of paradise. But undercurrents gradually drove her parents apart, and when her mother left in a car “colored like a prairie storm,” Lisa Norton began a troubled journey that took her far from home.

After years of to-and-fro travel, a stranger pulled her off a street, attempted to kill her, but raped her instead. In the aftermath of this event, Norton made her way back to Lake Ericson, the safe place of childhood and family. Bearing witness to a fragile land now changed and threatened by time, she finds a voice in the diminishing prairie and begins to recover herself by naming what might soon vanish forever.

Part memoir, part natural history, Hawk Flies Above is written with a poet’s loving precision and the passion of a woman who refuses to forget.

Endorsements for Hawk Flies Above:

“This book merits a place alongside the works of Terry Tempest Williams and Annie Dillard.”
Kirkus Reviews

By following her nose through the dunes and dusty roads, opening her heart to the times, places, and people that came before, and above all nursing her own whim, Lisa Norton has created a portrait of the Nebraska Sandhills that I will never forget. From the minutia of barefoot days among sandbar willows to the fragile enormity of the Ogallala Aquifer, this remarkable chronicle ties life, love, and responsibility together in a deeply personal way that somehow applies to us all.”

Robert Michael Pyle, author of Where Bigfoot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide

Lisa Dale Norton’s healing journey through the history and ecology of the Sandhills of Nebraska eloquently demonstrates the importance of following the heart’s pathways to the land called home.”
Barbara J. Scot, author of Prairie Reunion

A brave story of disturbance and reconciliation: A voice of strength has descended.”
Terry Tempest Williams, author of Refuge, Leap and Desert Quartet

Hawk Flies Above offers a rare vision of the fragile and beautiful Heartland. The author’s journey toward self-discovery resonates with healing and grace.”
Craig Lesley, author of Winterkill and The Sky Fisherman

Searching the soul of territory – her high-domed home in the Nebraska Sandhills – Lisa Norton manages to illuminate the territory of the soul. This bright book celebrates the healing power of landscape.”
Robin Cody, author of Voyage of a Summer Sun and Ricochet River

Powerful…an ambitious book…part nature writing, part memoir, part ecological treatise.”
The Lincoln Journal Star

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