In 2009, I read and reviewed a classic novella, The Snow Goose, written by Paul Gallico. It was beautifully written, short and powerful, and a very poignant story. I copied the beginning of the book into my reading notebook because it so perfectly set the stage for this powerful story of loneliness and love and sacrifice. If you’ve never read the book, it should be read in one sitting and treasured on a quiet afternoon.
The Great Marsh lies on the Essex coast between the village of Chelmbury and the ancient Saxon oyster-fishing hamlet of Wickaeldroth. It is one of the last of the wild places of England, a low, far-reaching expanse of grass and reeds and half-submerged meadowlands ending in the great saltings and mud flats and tidal pools near the restless sea.
Tidal creeks and estuaries and the crooked, meandering arms of many little rivers whose mouths lap at the edge of the ocean cut through the sodden land that seems to rise and fall and breathe with the recurrence of the daily tides. It is desolate, utterly lonely, and made lonelier by the calls and cries of the wildfowl that make their homes in the marshlands and saltings–the wild geese and the gulls, the teal and widgeon, the redshanks and curlews that pick their way through the tidal pools.
…the marshlands of coastal Essex in England…
“We prefer to explore the universe by traveling inward, as opposed to outward.”
Binti, by Nnedi Okorafor, is the first of a science fiction trilogy. A very well-written and award-winning novella, it is a story that is compelling to read. I am looking forward to reading the next two books in the series. (The third book is due to be released in September 2017, so I won’t have to wait too long!)
From the publisher, Tor.com
Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.
Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.
If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself – but first she has to make it there, alive.
I enjoyed reading this book because the ideas were thought-provoking, an “other” view of life and culture gave me new perspectives, and I simply admire the creativity and talent of the author. I highly recommend it!