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9. Peter S. Beagle Discussion

Discussion in 'Novels & Stories' started by Philip Overby, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

    Number 9 is Peter S. Beagle who is best known for the classic fantasy tale The Last Unicorn. I'm going to come clean and say I've never read this, but I've wanted to for some time. I'm not aware of any of his other books, but it seems he had a rather fruitful career. The Last Unicorn is often listed on many "must-read" lists and I believe there's actually a review of the book somewhere on the site. If I find it I'll come back and link it.

    In the meantime, thoughts on Peter S. Beagle?

    P.S. Something new I'm going to add are pics of book covers and anything else I can find on the authors. If you find anything you want to post regarding an author (interview, review, image, etc.) please feel free to post. Thanks!

    EDIT: Here's a link to the review by member Phin Scardaw. http://mythicscribes.com/forums/book-review-workshop/3619-last-unicorn.html

  2. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

    I've read The Last Unicorn, A Fine and Private Place, "Come, Lady Death", and the essay "Tolkien's Magic Ring."

    Beagle's most famous story leans towards the wondrous and the fantastical, with magic that can barely be understood, let alone controlled. There's an oddly wistful air throughout the whole thing, like Beagle wasn't just having his characters look for something, he was using them so he could look for something. The other two I've read lean more towards magical realism, but A Fine and Private Place has the same wistfulness in the more obvious atmosphere of irreversible decay and inescapable loss. ("Come, Lady Death" does something entirely different, compounding ruthlessness atop ruthlessness until there's nothing left but coldness.) None of it's stuff I really relate to, but I can't deny the effort put into it.

    I've also seen the movie made of The Last Unicorn. It was my favorite movie when I was five or so. I'm not sure whether I'd like it now.

    P.S. Actually, one more thing I remember. Beagle said that he was afraid The Last Unicorn would be his only book people would remember, and that it would haunt him "even as The Crock of Gold came to haunt James Stephens." I think he got the better end of the deal, since I'd never heard of The Crock of Gold or James Stephens.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2013
  3. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    I've only read The Last Unicorn.​ It was a long time ago, but I enjoyed it.
  4. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

    Same here. Liked the animated adaptation, too (aside from one of the songs).
  5. Shockley

    Shockley Maester

    I've only read The Folk of the Air, which bordered on the bizarre for the sake of being bizarre and had a slightly tired prose. Still better than anything I've pumped out.
  6. bjza

    bjza Dreamer

    I reread The Last Unicorn a few years back, and though I enjoyed it, I was struck by the style. Full of mixed-mythologies and anachronisms, both narration and dialogue are a little more playful, like a parody, than the novel's themes would suggest.
  7. rhd

    rhd Troubadour

    I read it as a twelve yr old and I remember it as being serious and intense and full of allegory and mythology, almost dreamy, in the parts dealing with the unicorn anyway. I don't know may be I would perceive it differently as an adult, and I think I might missed a lot of the the deeper aspects of his prose. The dude is good, reeeallly good, and manages to pull of some anachronisms pretty well:The true secret in being a hero lies in knowing the order of things. The swineherd cannot already be wed to the princess when he embarks on his adventures, nor can the boy knock on the witch's door when she is already away on vacation. Lol!
  8. rhd

    rhd Troubadour


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