Gossamer is a beautiful word with many different meanings. It can refer to the very fine silk that spiders use to spin their webs. The word can be used to describe a sheer, gauzy fabric or really anything that is fragile and tenuous. The novel “Gossamer” by Lois Lowry captures all of these meanings and manages to simultaneously portray both a sense of strength and fragility.
“Gossamer” is the tale of a small, elusive creature named Little One who is learning how to preform her new job of giving dreams to humans. She does this by gently extracting memories from household objects then bestowing these memories onto the humans as they sleep. In this way Little One comes to understand, and to deeply care for, her charges: an elderly lady and the disturbed young boy she is fostering. But trouble begins when the evil Sinisteeds, the creator of nightmares, have invaded her territory and have their sights set on the tormented young boy Little One has been trying to heal. Will Little One be able to use her powers to drive away the nightmares of the Sinisteeds or will her human succumb to his own personal demons?
This novel is interesting in that it builds the story very slowly with small moments in each character's life, almost as if Lowry is using these threads to construct a web. Few things are ever explicitly stated, there is much that is left for the reader to infer including what sort of creature Little One actually is. There is a pervasive gentleness in this book that is both inviting and heart-warming.
The criticism, however, is with the vague and abrupt end of the book. After investing so much in these characters, it was disheartening to have their stories end without a clear resolution. But other than the ending, the story flowed well and was easy enough to read for children to enjoy as well as adults.
Recommended for children ages 8 and up.