The Snow Geese by William Fiennes
A Story of Home

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Every spring, millions of geese embark on an arduous three-thousand-mile migration from their winter quarters in the southern United States to their breeding grounds in the Canadian Arctic. One year William Fiennes decided to go with them. Intrigued by what he’d read about the birds’ amazing annual journey, Fiennes was also desperate to emerge from a period of illness and from the belief that, at age twenty-six, his life had ground to a halt.

The story of his voyage turns out to be about a great deal more than geese. A blend of memoir, natural history, and travel writing, The Snow Geese is also about homecoming: the birds on their long homeward journey north, the romance of homecomings, the urge to leave home and the even stronger need to return. The arc of Fiennes’s extraordinary adventure is the backbone of a narrative rich in meditations on philosophy and natural science, and deeply perceptive in its descriptions of both physical and emotional travel.

Already being compared with Bruce Chatwin and Barry Lopez, William Fiennes is a gifted writer with a voice that is thoughtful, wry, and keenly observant. His book thrums with ideas, with stories and anecdotes, with humankind as well as with birds. The joy of being alive, of being on the move, and—above all—of returning home are poignantly captured in this intelligent, exuberant book, a debut of great delicacy and distinction.

About William Fiennes

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Contributed to Granta, The London Review of Books, The Observer and The Times Literary Supplement. The Snow Geese is his first book.
Published January 1, 2002 by Random House, 2002. 288 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Crafts, Hobbies & Home, Sports & Outdoors, Travel. Non-fiction

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The author has a tendency to overportray his human traveling companions, people he meets along the way (a woman on a bus, a family he stays with), who aren’t as interesting as the space they command, but he can turn a lovely phrase: when he pulls a book from the shelf, “the books on either side o...

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The Guardian

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The Snow Geese William Fiennes Picador £14.99, pp250 Paul Gallico's sad, romantic tale, The Snow Goose, published in 1941, has haunted many postwar child readers.

Mar 17 2002 | Read Full Review of The Snow Geese: A Story of Home

Star Tribune

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In "The Snow Geese," a quirky, likeable travel memoir by the young English writer William Fiennes, everyone and everything is either searching for home, homesick or home at last.

Mar 09 2002 | Read Full Review of The Snow Geese: A Story of Home

London Review of Books

Birth-house, parents, migrant birds: these fuse in his passage on swifts, for example, which ‘come back each year, in the last week of May’ to his old home somewhere in the south country – a fact which interested me, because I have recorded their arrival since the 1950s in Aberdeen on 11 May and ...

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