Fiennes: The Snow Geese
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William Fiennes, The Snow Geese : A Story of Home. New York : Random House, 2002. 253 pages; includes bibliographical references.
At the age of twenty-five William Fiennes fell ill. His parents welcomed him home to recuperate. He hoped to be back at work in three weeks but it took much longer. In the hospital, out again, in again, always returning home, back to his childhood room.
As a change of scenery his mother suggested a stay at a hotel on the Welsh border. There, in the library, he found a copy of Paul Gallico's "The Snow Goose". He remembered hearing the story in school at age ten. He remembered the classroom with high windows and his teacher, Mr. Faulkner.
Fiennes's father had always loved birds but William had never had the patience to learn about them. When they came back from the hotel he couldn't get "The Snow Goose" out of his head. Gaining strength he grew restless. After seeing a map of bird migration routes he decided to undertake a journey. He would follow snow geese from their wintering ground in Texas to their breeding ground in the Canadian Arctic.
The Snow Geese is a record of that journey filled with precise observations of birds and of people. Fiennes writes wonderfully about bird migration, behavior, and physiology. His book includes discussion on migratory research and nesting patterns as well as anecdotes provided by researchers and naturalists. It is vivid and well written.
-- Notes by GG