The Comfort of Crows

A Backyard Year

Margaret Renkl

October 2023 Memoir, Nature

On behalf of: Spiegel & Grau

New York Times opinion columnist and bestseller Margaret Renkl explores the natural world once again in The Comfort of Crows: A Backyard Year, a literary devotional about the passing of seasons both natural and personal.

In The Comfort of Crows, Margaret Renkl presents a devotional of sorts: fifty-two essays 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?

It will feature fifty-two four-color collages by Renkl’s brother and frequent collaborator Billy Renkl.


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

“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