The Snow Goose
by Paul Gallico,
illustrations by Peter Scott.
Michael Joseph 1946 (1941)
This classic novella is so well known but I have to confess I’ve never got round to it until now. Yet it was worth the wait to enjoy this little offering of bittersweetness, a story with one foot in fable and the other in fact, to relish the natural world it celebrates and the poetic language it’s couched in.
Published eight decades ago in 1941, amidst the dark days of war and threatened invasion, The Snow Goose is set in a specified time and place but also retains a universal appeal, talking as it does about local suspicions and latent love, about conflicts and about kindness.
It also has the ring of authenticity in being inspired by real places and people and events, and while clearly highly fictionalised there is a kind of truth about it that becomes almost mythic.