A Baker’s The Peregrine is 50 years old but it feels as if it were written yesterday.
In the half century since its publication this fierce little book has only tightened its talon grip on us.
It reads now as uncannily prophetic: of the Anthropocene (our geological age in which human activity is now the dominant influence on the environment) of extinction events – of dark ecology – even of virtual reality.
In ancient Rome a haruspex was a person trained in a form of divination based on inspecting the entrails of sacrificed animals.
Baker’s book – strewn as it is with eviscerated birds – obsessed as it is with prediction – is a text of killing and foretelling: of seeing the future in blood and guts.
It has haruspicated our present and I suspect its prescience is not yet all used up.