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The Comfort of Crows

From the author of Late Migrations comes a luminous book tracing the passing of seasons, personal and natural.

In The Comfort of Crows, New York Times opinion writer and bestselling author Margaret Renkl presents a literary devotional: fifty-two chapters that follow the creatures and plants in her backyard over the course of a year. As we move through the seasons—from a crow spied on New Year’s Day, its resourcefulness and sense of community setting a theme for the year—what develops is a portrait of joy and grief. Joy at the ongoing pleasures of the natural world: “Until the very last cricket falls silent, the beauty-besotted will always find a reason to love the world.” And grief at a shifting climate, at winters that end too soon, at songbirds growing fewer and fewer.

Along the way, we also glimpse the changing rhythms of a human life. Grown children, unexpectedly home during the pandemic, prepare to depart once more. Birdsong and night-blooming flowers evoke generations past. The city and the country where Renkl raised her family transform a little more with every passing day. How can one person make a difference amid such destabilizing changes?

With fifty-two original color artworks by Billy Renkl, the author’s brother, The Comfort of Crows is a lovely and deeply moving book from a beloved writer.

Interested in reading The Comfort of Crows with your book club? Download the book club kit for recipes, discussion questions, and more.

  • Winner of the 2024 Southern Book Prize for Nonfiction
  • New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice
  • Barnes & Noble Best Books 2023
  • Shelf Awareness 2023 Best Books of the Year
  • Garden & Gun Best Books of 2023
  • Good Housekeeping November Book Club Pick
  • Parnassus Books’ October First Editions Club selection
  • LibraryReads Nonfiction Bonus Pick
  • Indie Next Pick
  • SIBA Read This Next Pick
  • Barnes & Noble Most Anticipated Books of October
  • Amazon Best Biographies & Memoirs of November
  • USA Today Bestseller
  • IndieBound Best seller
  • Washington Post Bestseller
  • Boston Globe Bestseller

Preorder signed and personalized copies of The Comfort of Crows from Parnassus Books!


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The Comfort of Crows is a howling love letter to the world, the story of what we’ve lost and what we can save and the abundance of wonder in our own backyard. Margaret Renkl is a singular, spectacular writer, and this book, like life itself, is a cause for celebration.”

―Ann Patchett, author of The Dutch House

“This triumph of a book gives us a charming and wise friend to guide us over the course of a year, but I am certain Margaret Renkl’s enchanting voice will echo for lifetimes to come. The Comfort of Crows is an instant classic, not just for the planet, but—and most importantly—for our hearts too.”

―Aimee Nezhukumatathil, author of World of Wonders

“Margaret Renkl has the mind of a naturalist and the soul of a poet. Let this magnificent devotional be your eye-opening, heart-expanding daily companion, and it will change how you see the world.”

―Mary Laura Philpott, author of Bomb Shelter

“Reading Margaret Renkl always connects me more deeply to the natural world and to my own heart. The Comfort of Crows is an elegy, a provocation, and above all a love letter to the magnificence that still surrounds us, if only we are awake enough to look. I want to press it into the hands of everyone I know.”

—Dani Shapiro, author of Inheritance

“This is a lovely prayer book centered on plants and animals, an important reminder of grace and of the necessity of placing public green spaces in reach of everyone.”

Catherine Raven, author of Fox & I