Wednesday, January 11, 2017

In Calabria -- Peter S. Beagle

Peter S. Beagle is probably best known for The Last Unicorn, a genuine fantasy classic if ever there was one.  Now he has a new novel (really a novella) that also involves unicorns, and it's purely wonderful.

Bianchi is a middle-aged man who lives on an isolated farm in Calabria, where he keeps almost entirely to himself, not counting his occasional visits to the market or the twice weekly (soon to be thrice weekly) visits from the postal carrier.  The farm is an inheritance and the perfect place to hide from the world if you have a sad past like Bianchi's.  He doesn't want any contact with the outside world.

And then a unicorn shows up.  A pregnant unicorn.   That's bound to attract attention, right?  That's really all I want to say about the plot, other than to tell you that Bianchi's life changes in a lot of ways, some of them mundane, some of them magical, all of them fascinating.

In Calabria is a wonderful book, powerfully and poetically written, with a story that held me spellbound.  It's just as well that it's short because I didn't want to stop reading.  If you can read it without laughing, crying, and experiencing that elusive "sense of wonder," then tú eres mas macho que yo.  Highly recommended.

1 comment:

Todd Mason said...

Excellent. Beagle an example of the relatively few writers who were not quite abandoned by their original audience, but certainly embraced by the fantasy audience to a greater extent than by others...William Kotzwinkle another. (At least Angela Carter and a few others have retained most of their audience, and just continued to grow one.)

Beagle also messed over by an agent of sorts. Glad that hasn't kept him from some brilliant new writing.