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Gossamer   By: (1865-1950)

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In the novel Gossamer by George A. Birmingham, readers are transported to the idyllic landscape of rural Ireland during the early 20th century. Through vivid descriptions and a masterful storytelling style, Birmingham weaves a captivating tale that explores themes of love, sacrifice, and the power of friendship.

At its core, Gossamer is a story about two unlikely characters who form an unlikely bond. The protagonist, James Atherton, is a reserved and introspective reverend who has recently been assigned to a new parish in the Irish countryside. As he settles into his new surroundings, he encounters a peculiar young girl named Janet, who possesses a vivid imagination and an enchanting presence. Janet introduces James to the world of fairies, or "gossamers" as she calls them, that she believes exist within the nearby forest. Intrigued by her innocence and passion, James finds himself being drawn into her whimsical world.

Through his encounters with Janet and her vivid stories, James begins to question the boundaries of reality and the importance of embracing the extraordinary. As their friendship blossoms, readers are swept away on a magical journey that blurs the lines between folklore and reality. Birmingham skillfully juxtaposes the everyday happenings of rural Irish life with the enchanting tales spun by Janet, immersing readers in a world where anything seems possible.

The strength of Birmingham's writing lies in the evocative descriptions that bring the Irish landscape to life. The beauty of the rolling green hills, the subtle play of light and shadow in the forest, and the vivid portrayal of the local community create a vivid backdrop for the unfolding events. Birmingham's prose is lyrical and immersive, allowing readers to feel as though they are walking alongside the characters, experiencing the magic and wonder firsthand.

Additionally, the characterization in Gossamer is both nuanced and compelling. James and Janet are multifaceted individuals who undergo personal growth throughout the story. Their interactions are filled with warmth, humor, and genuine emotion, making their bond feel all the more authentic. Birmingham explores the complexities of human relationships, highlighting the transformative power of compassion and connection.

One aspect that may disappoint some readers is the subtle pacing of the plot. While the story steadily unfolds, some may find themselves wishing for more action or dramatic twists. However, Gossamer thrives on its introspective nature, allowing readers to revel in the rich tapestry of emotions and human experiences.

Overall, George A. Birmingham's Gossamer is a captivating and enchanting read that transcends genres. With its vivid descriptions, compelling characters, and thought-provoking themes, the novel invites readers on a journey of self-discovery and reminds us of the magic that lies within our own perceptions. Birmingham's storytelling prowess shines through, making this a book that will leave a lasting impression on anyone who ventures into its pages.

First Page:


By G. A. Birmingham

Copyright, 1915, George H. Doran Company


"For that mercy," said Gorman, "you may thank with brief thanksgiving whatever gods there be." We were discussing, for perhaps the twentieth time, the case of poor Ascher. Gorman had reminded me, as he often does, that I am incapable of understanding Ascher or entering into his feelings, because I am a man of no country and therefore know nothing of the emotion of patriotism. This seems a curious thing to say to a man who has just had his leg mangled in a battle; but I think Gorman is quite right about his fact I went out to the fight, when the fight came on, but only because I could not avoid going. I never supposed that I was fighting for my country. But Gorman is wrong in his inference. I have no country, but I believe I can understand Ascher quite as well as Gorman does. Nor am I sure that I ought to be thankful for my immunity from the fever of patriotism. Ascher suffered severely because at a critical moment in his life a feeling of loyalty to his native land gripped him hard. I have also suffered, a rending of the body at least comparable to Ascher's rending of the soul. But I have not the consolation of feeling that I am a hero.

I have often told Gorman that if he were as thorough going as he pretends to be he would call himself O'Gorabhain or at the very least, O'Gorman... Continue reading book >>

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