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Group reads > The Snow Goose July 2017 group read (spoilers)

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message 1: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico

A modern classic, "The Snow Goose" is set in the years running up to the remarkable rescue of the British army stranded on the beaches of Dunkirk during World War II. On the desolate marshes along the English coast, a young girl, Frith, comes to seek help from Philip Rhayader, a reclusive painter who lives in an abandoned lighthouse. She carries in her arms a wounded snow goose. Over the following decade, Frith and the migrating snow goose return to the lighthouse each fall. An unspoken bond forms between Frith and Rhayader-and the snow goose. And then, in May 1940, hearing of the plight of the British army across the English Channel, Philip says good-bye to Frith and heroically sets out in his tiny, sailboat for Dunkirk. - Goodreads

June was the 77 anniversary of Dunkirk (and a big new film is getting lots of acclaim) and so I was reminded of this lovely novella. Please join me in reading and discussing this in beginning July 1.


message 2: by Lora (new)

Lora (lorabanora) I'll keep it in mind. I like Paul Gallico.


message 3: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
Lora wrote: "I'll keep it in mind. I like Paul Gallico."

I think you'd like it especially.


message 4: by Ivan (last edited Jul 01, 2017 05:25AM) (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
Paul Gallico wrote quite a number of famous books and stories - many were made into films for the cinema or TV and one was even made into a Broadway musical. Thus far this emotion filled little novel is the only thing I've read by him.

the story of the "little ships" (the citizen navy) fascinates me.

The Snow Goose and The Small Miracle by Paul Gallico

They made a film with Richard Harris and Jenny Agutter (who I've adored since childhood in Walkabout and The Railway Children) which you can watch on YouTube, although the picture quality is truly terrible.

Read the book.


message 5: by Lora (new)

Lora (lorabanora) I got the book from the library, and it has three stories in it, so a little more reading to look forward to. Plus there is an interesting intro by the author that discusses each novella. That part was cool- that's all I've read so far.
Well, I glanced over the first page and realized that this story feels quite familiar to me. I think I've read it before.


message 6: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) | 568 comments I got it from the library too, but so far haven't opened it. It's next after Tolstoy's War and Peace, which is not a novella.


message 7: by Lora (new)

Lora (lorabanora) Ok, read it. It's so short it's nearly a short story. I do remember reading this before, too. I had trouble relating to the beauty of marshes and flat lands because I come from tree-and-hill lands. But the description of light playing across the land meant more to me this time around. The dominant wildlife being birds was also unusual for me, and I had to absorb that in order to see the beauty of it.


message 8: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
I thought the relationship between the man and the girl was special. The child sees the quality of the man under the façade.

Marshes are not a favorite landscape of mine either. Give me the Oregon coast and Cannon Beach - something dramatic - and green and old growth woods.


message 9: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
Buck wrote: "I got it from the library too, but so far haven't opened it. It's next after Tolstoy's War and Peace, which is not a novella."

As slow as I read it would take me a year to read WAR AND PEACE


message 10: by Phil (new)

Phil Jensen | 70 comments Buck wrote: "I got it from the library too, but so far haven't opened it. It's next after Tolstoy's War and Peace, which is not a novella."

Ha, ha! I would have to be really organized to finish W&P in a year.

I really enjoyed The Snow Goose. I read the edition that was illustrated by Beth Peck, and I can't imagine it any other way. She uses (oil?) paintings, and there are about 22 of them. They capture light and nature in a way that mimics the descriptions of Philip's paintings in the book.


message 11: by Lora (new)

Lora (lorabanora) Ah, my edition has pencil sketches. I'm curious about those oil paintings now. I bet they add something for those of us having trouble envisioning the marshy setting. I might be able to find them online.


message 12: by Ivan (last edited Jul 09, 2017 05:41AM) (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
One of the books I have is illustrated by Angela Barrett - it's a lovely book. I've looked up the Beth Peck illustrations and I think I may like them even more. Peck has illustrated a number books that I own or have seen in stores or libraries.


message 13: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) | 568 comments Thank you Ivan for selecting this book. It's a gem.

Mine is illustrated by Barrett. The text is copyright 1940. The illustrations are copyright 2007.


message 14: by Susan (new)

Susan Budd (susanbudd) | 8 comments I never heard of this book before, but it sounds like something I would like. Count me in for the group read!


message 15: by Lora (new)

Lora (lorabanora) Those Beth Peck illustrations really captured the mood as I was experiencing it. Those were lovely.


message 16: by Lora (new)

Lora (lorabanora) ***spoiler***I had to turn my book back in to the library, but there was an interesting intro discussing each story. In The Snow Goose, Gallico was warned by the publishers not to have the hunchbacked man get to 'keep the girl', so to speak. Her beauty and his disability did not 'go together', as it were. Publishers are complicated creatures.


message 17: by Phil (new)

Phil Jensen | 70 comments Lora wrote: "Gallico was warned by the publishers not to have the hunchbacked man get to 'keep the girl', so to speak. Her beauty and his disability did not 'go together',"

That's obnoxious.

In this book, we have another iteration of the lonely older man/beautiful younger girl pairing that happens so often in fiction. I thought Gallico rescued it from being too hokey by having the girl clearly benefit from the association and not just be manic and pixie.

How often does it go the other way? Lonely older woman and handsome younger man? I can only think of the movie Harold and Maude and maybe the frog story from The Broom of the System.


message 18: by Lora (new)

Lora (lorabanora) Yes, obnoxious. It really brought to my awareness how much influence editors and publishers have over the creative endeavor of writing a book.
That age thing you mention- it's so prevalent in TV and movies, as well. Hundreds of shows have an older man attracting much younger women. It really doesn't happen the other way around, on TV. Not often. Our cultural ideas on age and attraction really need a rework.


message 19: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
Lora wrote: "***spoiler***I had to turn my book back in to the library, but there was an interesting intro discussing each story. In The Snow Goose, Gallico was warned by the publishers not to have the hunchbac..."

That's interesting. I for one am glad that the relationship didn't become romantic. When this was written I think that topic wasn't so worn and tired. Still, I'm glad the editor brought it up. Did the intro notes say whether or not Gallico was thinking of having their relationship turn romantic?

I'm weary of relationships between adults and children becoming sexual. In my life I've had several relationships with older women - mentors - teachers, friends, my sisters friends - none have been romantic and only one had any chance or hope of becoming romantic (as I am gay that "one" was rather bittersweet and heartbreaking though we remained close until the end of her life). Those relationships were nurturing and the most beneficial of my life by far.

There was a book about the relationship of an older woman and younger gay man in The Sweet Dove Died by Barbara Pym - which was very much like my experience - and so delicate and well written - Pym is a passion. Tim by Colleen McCullough also features an older woman with a younger man (though I haven't read that).

As for Harold and Maude - it's one of my favorite films of all time. So original. Divorced from Hollywood formula. I didn't know there was a novella until two minutes ago - so I'll add it to our bookshelf.

"Moonstruck" has Cher and Nicholas Cage. "Something's Gotta Give" with Nicholson and Keaton explores both sides of these relationships (though they aren't books).

The older man and younger woman scenario is old in Hollywood. Grace Kelly and Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, Gary Cooper, Bing Crosby - was she ever in a film where the leading man wasn't old enough to be her father? Audrey Hepburn too - Bogart, Grant, Astaire.

One year at the Oscars Whoopi Goldberg cautioned the attendees about drinking too much because the previous year some older men got so drunk they left with women their own age.

I heard that Jodie Foster dropped a film role because Michael Douglas had the script altered so that they would be romantic and she thought that was gross and wasn't having any of that. Good for her.


message 20: by Phil (new)

Phil Jensen | 70 comments Ivan wrote: "As for Harold and Maude - it's one of my favorite films of all time. So original. Divorced from Hollywood formula. I didn't know there was a novella until two minutes ago - so I'll add it to our bookshelf."

I had no idea. Can we put it on the reading schedule?

Jodie Foster is great.

I thought that the relationship between Philip and Frith was ultimately romantic, but late-blooming. I thought that was implied when she calls out to the snow goose in the final pages.


message 21: by Ivan (last edited Jul 09, 2017 05:36PM) (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
First, yes. We could certainly read it after Darling Buds of May.

Second - so perhaps the publisher was saying to Gallico that the burgeoning romance should remain unrealized.

I had to go back and re-read (it's been a while since I read this).

The things his eyes communicated "the longing and the loneliness and the deep, welling, unspoken things that lay in and behind them as he turned them upon her."

"The woman in her bade her take flight from something that she was not yet capable of understanding."

"He had changed so. For the first time she saw that he was no longer ugly or mis-shapen or grotesque, but very beautiful. Things were turmoiling in her own soul, crying to be said, and she did not know how to say them."

So, it does seem the quality of her feelings were developing for him. But none of those feelings were acted upon before the story played out as it did. Perhaps they would have had the outcome been different. I'm still glad they didn't.


message 22: by Lora (new)

Lora (lorabanora) Amen, Ivan. I have become so wearied by every relationship having to turn into a sexual one. True stories of true friendships- and their many faceted ways of shining with beauty- have been temporarily lost to much of our culture.
It still shows up, thankfully. It's a common theme throughout out literary heritage, too, so I hope we never lose the ability to read for the sake of a love for friendship.


message 23: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
Going to see DUNKIRK in a few hours. I've heard it's intense. I'll report back.

Anyone else out there reading THE SNOW GOOSE? Thoughts?


message 24: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) | 568 comments We saw Dunkirk last night. It is intense indeed, from the very first scene right to the end. A good movie. It made me think of The Snow Goose - the climax is Dunkirk. I'm the only one in our family group who saw Dunkirk who has even heard of The Snow Goose. I recommended it to all.


message 25: by Phil (new)

Phil Jensen | 70 comments I saw it Friday. They left out the bird.


message 26: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
Phil wrote: "I saw it Friday. They left out the bird."

That would have been a nice touch.

I thought the film was incredible. Mark Rylance is a fascinating actor. I had trouble with WOLF HALL on PBS, but now it's on Netflix and I may give it another try.


message 27: by Lora (new)

Lora (lorabanora) It's cool this movie has come out as we were reading related material. I usually read classics from, like, a century ago and so having it dovetail with the outside real world is an unusual experience for me.


message 28: by Buck (last edited Jul 27, 2017 06:26PM) (new)

Buck (spectru) | 568 comments The driving force for our seeing the movie Dunkirk was that Harry Styles was in it. We have teenage girls - and girls that are no longer teens. (They went to one of his concerts and interacted with him, videos of which were on MTV's website. If you google 'Harry Styles and the cookies' you'll see my granddaughters) Before seeing the movie. they knew nothing of Dunkirk, much less The Snow Goose. (I had to ask which one was Harry Styles.)


message 29: by Lora (new)

Lora (lorabanora) Oh, fun to see! Thanks for sharing.
I don't know who he is, either.


message 30: by Ivan (last edited Aug 02, 2017 10:58AM) (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
He's a teen heartthrob from a British Boy Band.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/wp-content/u...


message 31: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
By chance have any of you seen the old TV film of The Snow Goose and The Small Miracle? Jenny Agutter and Richard Harris were perfect. You can watch it on YouTube.


message 32: by Lora (new)

Lora (lorabanora) Oh, thanks for the tip.


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