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4.6 out of 5 stars102
4.6 out of 5 stars
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I found this book by the sleeve notes from the progressive rock album by Camel. I had always enjoyed the music but never knew the story behind the album.
The book is the story of a man and his relationship with others. He overcomes all the disadvantages of his life to prove that courage and bravery are not the sole territory of the few.
Read this book because it has an emotional impact that is rare in this day and age. If you are an ageing progressive rocker, this book will give real meaning to a seminal work of the era.
I only wish that I had read this work as a teenager and taken to heart the values and emotions that are in this story.
22 comments38 of 40 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 11 June 2010
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.
11 comment4 of 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 18 June 2010
This is a genuine classic which has inspired much creativity among musicians, writers, teachers, artists and others over decades. However, it seems to have been neglected by many others.

I can offer this particular publication my highest recommendation for readers of all age groups. The illustrations are absolutely superb and the book offers a unique style of short story writing which is so moving that simply thinking about it as I type this makes my eyes water.

It can be read and re-read, it will never cease to provide enjoyment - a true classic!
11 comment14 of 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 1 December 2009
This really is a lovely short story that can be read and appreciated by kids and grown up kids as well. Probably one of the best short stories of its kind. Recommended to all with a sentimental streak.
0Comment5 of 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
It's funny how the simplest of stories oftentimes have the most meaning. Paul Gallico's The Snow Goose is a beautifully moving story that touches on several of man's deepest emotions. It can be considered a children's story, but I think adults alone can truly appreciate the poignancy and depth of it. It's a tale of loneliness, love, war, and death. It's somewhat depressing yet life-affirming at the same time.
Philip Rhayader is a man of great warmth and affection, but his physical deformities (a hunched back and a clawed hand) make him an outcast in society. So it is that he moves to a remote lighthouse on the Essex coast, takes up painting, and cares for the local wildlife - especially the birds, who become his only real visitors or friends over the course of their annual migrations. One day, a shy little girl named Fritha arrives at his door carrying a wounded bird - her compassion for the creature overcoming her innate fear of the misshapen Rhayader. The bird is in fact a Canadian snow goose that somehow ended up on the eastern side of the Atlantic. Thanks to Philip's ministrations, the goose recovers and becomes a yearly visitor. Fritha often comes to visit the goose, and she and Philip develop a special bond of friendship. Time passes, hurtling toward the beginning of World War II. When Philip hears the call for any and all boats to help rescue the beached men at Dunkirk, he jumps at the chance to finally play an important part in society.
There's much more to the story from that point on, but in the end the snow goose comes to symbolize many things, including love and sacrifice. It is a romantic story, albeit an unconventional one, and your heart cannot help but be touched by the story of a special creature of nature and the profound effect his presence had on two human souls.
0Comment18 of 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 3 October 2001
What an incredible book. Beauifuuly written and incredibly moving, I read this book within a matter of hours, and finished with tears streaming down my face. It is one of those incredibly powerful books, which you are actually sad to finish because it was so enjoyable to read. I would definitely recommend to anyone.
0Comment27 of 31 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 26 January 2007
My Dad handed me a very old copy of this book to read a few years ago and I recently re discovered it's brilliance.

It is a beautiful short story that is written in such a captivating way that it would be hard to stop reading till you get to the end in just one sitting.

I would recommend this to anyone who appreciates the beauty of description and emotion a book can sometimes offer a reader.
0Comment8 of 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 26 May 2010
I have had this book for quite a while only reading it this week. It is an extraordinary and moving story of a gentle but disfigured man alone but for his birds and a young girl. I would love to see this story filmed,but it would need great sensitivity or it would fail for lack of understanding and sincerity.
22 comments2 of 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 1 December 2009
This book is a delight. A beautifully written and illustrated short story that will stay with me to be read again many times in years to come. There are very few books that I have fallen in love with but this is at the top of the list. Buy it and read it to your children but do not lend it to anyone as you are unlikely to see it again.
0Comment17 of 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 23 June 2015
Having spend my last 15 years as co-founder of the Cork Animal Care Society rescuing companion animals (and wildlife) this tiny tiny book moved me to tears. I am old (over 70) and battle hardened because of my voluntary work but this book is so well written it will burn itself into your soul. Paul Gallico is one of the worlds finest writers and any of his books will give you countless hours of joy while he takes you on the story told. But be warned, you too might shed a tear, just like I did and find yourself re-reading it many a time. Albert
0Comment1 of 1 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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