I had two customers come into our bookshop asking for this book in the last week or so - a frequent occurrence when something has been recently featured on the radio. The second customer, a sweet little old lady, fell into a tone of deep reverence and told me it was 'lovely, just lovely - I knew I needed to have a copy!' Well, happily for me, I did have a copy, so I searched it out and read it straight away!
The back of my edition says 'The Snow Goose' is 'a beautiful tale of a hunchbacked artist, a girl, a wounded bird and a courageous act at Dunkirk.' It being a short story, there really isn't much I can add to that without ruining it. All I CAN say is that my customer was right - it IS lovely. From the first page it resounded with poetry and bravery, deep sadness and a profound love and respect for the natural world. By the end I was in tears and absolutely certain that this book wouldn't be leaving my shelves any time soon.
The second story, 'The Small Miracle', is a modern fable about a poor orphaned Italian boy, Pepino, and his quest to save his best friend and only remaining family, his beloved donkey Violetta. She is very sick, and his only chance is to get her into the crypt of his local church at Assisi for St. Francis to heal her. Again, it's a very moving story - orphan boy, sick donkey, here come the tears again! - and it's woven through with an appealing atmosphere of innocence and faith.
For me, the first story will be unforgettable; the second story less so, but still far surpassing every other short story I have ever read, at least as far as my memory serves! Very highly recommended.