The Book of Goose

“The Book of Goose” by Yiyun Li, Book Review

The Book of Goose
The Book of Goose

“The Book of Goose” by Yiyun Li

“I did not tell Fabienne then that I thought our happiness should be like the pigeons M. Devaux kept. They went away, they came back, and what happened in between was no one’s business. Our happiness should not be rooted and immobile.”

“The Book of Goose” by Yiyun Li is a captivating exploration of friendship, storytelling, and the blurred lines between reality and imagination. Set in 1950s, post-war France, the novel follows the intense friendship between Agnès and Fabienne, two girls who navigate poverty and boredom through elaborate games and fantasies. They are like opposite faces of the same coin, different but inseparable.


The narrative unfolds with Agnès receiving news of Fabienne’s death, triggering a flood of memories from their childhood. Li skillfully delves into the dynamics of their relationship, with Fabienne as the bold leader and Agnès as the loyal follower. Their collaboration on a sensational book leads to unexpected literary success and exposes the complexities of their friendship and the power dynamics at play.

As the story shifts between two timelines, past and present describing the early lives of two friends. Agnès finds herself at a prestigious finishing school in England, while Fabienne remains in their village. The distance between them highlights their contrasting personalities and ambitions, ultimately leading to a reckoning of their friendship’s true nature.

Li’s prose is rich with metaphor and symbolism, inviting readers to ponder the deeper themes of fate, hope, and the nature of truth. The novel raises thought-provoking questions about the role of storytelling in shaping our understanding of the world and ourselves.

Alvina’s Verdict:

Overall, “The Book of Goose” is a thoughtfully crafted, intellectually stimulating read that lingers in the mind long after the final page. Li’s exploration of friendship and the power of imagination resonates deeply, making this novel a compelling addition to contemporary literature.


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