The Snow Geese

The Snow Geese

3.48 (422 ratings by Goodreads)
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Snow geese spend their summers on the tundra of the Canadian Arctic. Each autumn they migrate south to Delaware, California and the Gulf of Mexico. In the spring they fly north again. William Fiennes decided to go with them. The arc of Fiennes' extraordinary adventure frames meditations on philosophy, natural science and personal more

Product details

  • CD-ROM
  • 190.5 x 160 x 38.1mm | 385.55g
  • ISIS Publishing
  • ISIS Audio Books
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Unabridged
  • Unabridged
  • 0753115883
  • 9780753115886

Review Text

This is a marvellous tale, part travelogue, part autobiography, which owes its existence to the Earth's tilt, its origins to Fiennes's long period of illness, and its inspiration to the Paul Gallico story The Snow Goose. The tilt is the reason that the climate in most parts of the world becomes welcoming and inhospitable by turns. Birds, like rich Canadians, cope with this by migrating to the Caribbean for the winter. Yet like humans they have a deep urge for home. Fiennes, whose desire to go home whilst ill had been supplanted by a quest for adventure, a return from the state of being ill, decided to follow their route back across the Americas, from the Gulf coast of Texas to the Foxe Peninsula on Baffin Island. The result is this gently meandering saga of his wanderings across the US, interspersed with musings on the birds' astonishing navigation capabilities, and with chunks of avian lore, historical and geographic detail, natural history, meteorological understanding and scientific knowledge melting into the text. Throughout the reader is aware of the undercurrent of Fiennes's interest: the lure of home to one away (it is surely no coincidence that Fiennes reveals that he was sent to boarding school at age eight), contemplations which take in the origins of nostalgia as an ailment, the depiction of homesickness by physicians in the Napoleonic wars as a contagious disorder, the plight of the Greek heroes of the Odyssey and the tendency of the first immigrants to the US to endow their new home with the names of the old, travelling with proper nouns as though they were personal effects. Fiennes has immense narrative power and a remarkable talent for encapsulating his characters in small details - the way his father steadies himself against a wall to unlace his boots, the Texan whose coats hang from a rack of antlers, the ex-nun now ablaze with primary colours. Some people are captured by their possessions: a bumper sticker reading 'There's No Place Like Narnia', a postcard of Mickey Mouse's washing machine, a book called Getting the Most Out of Your Lathe, a homemade device for launching mortar attacks on potatoes. Characters he meets are meticulously described, their conversation precisely logged, their own stories brought to life; yet of Fiennes himself there is curiously little sense, except as the boy returning finally to home. (Kirkus UK)show more

Rating details

422 ratings
3.48 out of 5 stars
5 17% (72)
4 34% (144)
3 34% (142)
2 11% (46)
1 4% (18)
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