THE SNOW GOOSE by Paul Gallico
A heart wrenching tale. If a good cry is needed this story will open the gates. It’s a short story with the power of a novel. How is this possible?
The Snow Goose Paul Gallico is a the master of selection. He zeroes in on his characters as if he’s looking through a telescope and widens the lense just enough for us to fall under the spell of his vivid prose:
She was no more than twelve, slender, dirty, nervous and timid as a bird, but beneath the grime as eerily beautiful as a marsh faery.
Then he pulls back and moves on.
This peculiar love story unfolds for the reader on a need to know basis. He whets our appetite with fragments of the tale, and it is our hunger and passion for the hunchback Philip Rhayeder and twelve-year-old Fritha that weaves the rest of the story through our imagination and within our hearts.
The Snow Goose is storytelling in its purest form.
I’m a hopeless romantic and a sucker for tales of unrequited love, but my fondness for this tale transcends romance. I was introduced to this classic by my sixth grade English teacher. She periodically rewarded our efforts to master the curriculum by taking class time to read to us. From the moment she delivered these opening lines:
The Great Marsh lies on the Essex coast between the village of Chelmbury and the ancient Saxon oyster-fishing hamlet of Wickaeldroth. It is one of the last of the wild places of England…
My heart told me Gallico had written this story for me, and I was Fritha.
Three more years would pass before I would uncover the nerve to write. But The Snow Goose freed the artist within my soul and I knew my life would be a creative one. This is the power of literature. I have no idea how many times I have read Gallico’s story, or how often I have gifted it to others. But is has always been an anchor of encouragement for me.
Although the book resides on my writing desk, I hadn’t read it in years. Then on September 11th, I read a post by Keith Cronin, author of Me Again, and was transported to the beginning of my journey as a writer. I immediately reread this classic and learned that I loved Gallico’s tale more than before. Thanks, Keith.
Let The Snow Goose soar into your heart.