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1. Garden of Earthly Delights (A
2. A Fine and Private Place
3. The Line Between
4. We Never Talk About My Brother
5. Mirror Kingdoms: The Best of Peter
6. The Last Unicorn
7. The Secret History of Fantasy
8. The Rhinoceros Who Quoted Nietzsche
9. Sleight of Hand
10. Folk of the Air
11. Peter S. Beagle's Immortal Unicorn
12. Tamsin
13. The Innkeeper's Song
14. Return
15. The Last Unicorn (SIGNED)
16. A Dance for Emilia
17. Giant Bones
18. "The Magician of Karakosk
19. The Unicorn Sonata
20. The Fantasy Worlds of Peter S.

1. Garden of Earthly Delights (A Studio book)
by Peter S. Beagle
Paperback: 127 Pages (1982-06-30)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0670335037
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Bosch Savior
As anyone who has studied art history is painfully aware, the world of Hieronymus Bosch is extremely complicated. This was a wonderful introduction to that difficult world. It gave insights into the symbolism of his works without being confusing and illustrates them with number of full color photographs and details. An excellent laymen's guide to the painter.

4-0 out of 5 stars Bosch, short and sweet
This book lays out lots of the hidden meanings in the painters strange iconography, some of which are personal feelings. Of all the painters to write about, he chose only Bosch. What I particularly appreciate about thebook is how all of the sections of the painting in which he discusses andblown up and right there for you to look at as you read (short and sweet) I found a lot of facts that were missed by other authors/critics of thisoutlandish painter.Well done Peter Beagle!

4-0 out of 5 stars Bosch, short and sweet
This book lays out lots of the hidden meanings in the painters strange iconography, some of which are personal feelings. Of all the painters to write about, he chose only Bosch. What I particularly appreciate about thebook is how all of the sections of the painting in which he discusses andblown up and right there for you to look at as you read (short and sweet) I found a lot of facts that were missed by other authors/critics of thisoutlandish painter.Well done Peter Beagle! ... Read more

2. A Fine and Private Place
by Peter S. Beagle
Paperback: 296 Pages (2007-05-28)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$8.82
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1892391465
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Amazon.com Review
Conversing in a mausoleum with the dead, an eccentric recluse is tugged back into the world by a pair of ghostly lovers bearing an extraordinary gift--the final chance for his own happiness. When challenged by a faithless wife and aided by a talking raven, the lives of the living and the dead may be renewed by courage and passion, but only if not belatedly. Told with an elegiac wisdom, this delightful tale of magic and otherworldly love is a timeless work of fantasy imbued with hope and wonder. After multiple printings since 1960, this newest edition will contain the author's recent revisions and will stand as the definitive version of an ageless classic.

Questions for Peter S. Beagle

Jeff VanderMeer for Amazon.com: When you were writing A Fine and Private Place, did you have any idea it was going to have such staying power?

Beagle: No. Not at all, of course. When I was 19 years old I never thought in terms of classics or being permanently around. I'd known enough writers, even at that age, to see that what happens to your work is so far out of your control you simply can't afford to let that kind of concern enter your thinking.

Amazon.com: The publisher asked you to remove four chapters from the book. At the time, did you agree with the decision? Have your feelings about it changed over the years?

Beagle: At the time I was outraged. I fought every step of the way, and every sentence. Today I'm inordinately grateful to Marshall Best, the editor who did that. Marshall is long gone, so I just hope that back then I had sense and courtesy enough to say thank you. But I don't think I realized fully what his effect on the book had been until many years later. If it weren’t for him I don’t think the book would still be in print. He's also the one who came up with the title and the allusion to those marvelously appropriate lines from Andrew Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress"--I'd originally called the book The Dark City, after the way that Jonathan Rebeck saw the graveyard. Titles, sad to say, have never been my strong suit. Most of my best have actually come from friends or editors.

Amazon.com: To what extent are any of the characters in A Fine and Private Place autobiographical? I ask because the detail work in the novel, especially with regard to older people, seems so fresh and free of cliche.

Beagle: I think that A Fine and Private Place is very nearly, though not quite, my first attempt to capture the voices in the Bronx neighborhood where I grew up. Nobody is based on any one person, but there’s a piece here and a piece there was useful. I hung fire on creating Laura Durant, when it came time to bring her into the story, until I decided to base her physically--not emotionally, but physically--on a Pittsburgh actress I was in a play with. I just didn't know enough young women in those days. And there are scenes in there which people from the old neighborhood would recognize--when Mrs. Klapper goes into the Wireman's grocery, that is very much the little store on the corner across from my house. Yet even there I mixed things up. I think what keeps the book fresh isn't the fantasy, but the fact that I was trying very hard to make it real. To make the voices real. In the end it is always the voices, for me.

Amazon.com: Your books have, over the years, resonated with readers everywhere. Have reader reactions or opinions changed the way you think of the books?

Beagle: Only in the sense that they sometimes make me go back and look at them. When you do this writing thing day by day, you don't do a lot of reflecting on your own relationship to the old work. What does get me, though, is just how much the books have actually influenced the real lives of real people in ways I couldn't imagine. That’s enormously touching for me.

Amazon.com: One of my favorite moments in your fiction is when the true Medieval infringes on the fake Medieval in The Folk of the Air. You manage to convey a real sense of the alien perspective--a sense that if we were to travel back in time, we might find our ancestors as hard to understand as we would creatures from outer space. Did you research your way into that moment and that effect, or...?

Beagle: I've thought about it a lot, having read a great deal of history (my father was a history teacher). And there are fiction writers out there who are so good at bringing the literal stink of a certain period into your nostrils as you read...well, for me they are intimidating, because there are novels I'd like to write based on certain historical events that I'm just not sure I could. In the case of The Folk of the Air I did a lot of research, from many angles, because the real group that my imaginary one was based on didn't limit itself to a narrow span of time, but rather built characters and personas out of events as far back as the Viking era and as recent as 1650. And the history as presented in their gatherings wasn't necessarily the most accurate. So on the one hand I was trying to go for a certain sense of the real, when it does come, in contrast to some fanciful, semi-informed imaginings.

Amazon.com: What are you currently working on--and where should we look for your short fiction in the next year or so?

Beagle: In terms of short fiction, I've got a chapbook coming out from Dreamhaven Books early in 2008 called Strange Roads, with three stories inspired by the art of Lisa Snellings-Clark. There are also six or eight pieces of short fiction appearing in various original fantasy anthologies, magazines, and fiction websites, and I'm working on a quartet of season-themed stories that will premiere not in print, but as podcasts. That last set is for a wonderful little website called The Green Man Review. They did a whole special issue about me and also named me their official Oak King this year, so it's the least I could do. In terms of book-length work, 2008 is going to be absolutely crazy with original books and reprints. Just crazy. There are a couple of new novels finally coming out, a manga-style graphic adaptation of The Last Unicorn, several new collections, and at least two nonfiction books. I can hardly keep track of it all myself, so the best way for anyone to stay up to date would be to visit my website or Conlan Press, or just sign up for my free email newsletter, The Raven. Whatever else I might think about being 68, the simple fact is that I'm busier than ever. It's like George Burns used to say: "I can't die--I'm booked!"

... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars 40 years, and still one of my favorites
I dare anyone to read the first two paragraphs and not be completely entranced.I did, at the University of Rochester Book Store in the late 1960s, and I've bought more than a dozen copies since.Beagle's writing is sublime, his imagination seductive.And while I've been a fan of science fiction since childhood, I'd never have said I liked fantasy, but this may be the exception.Perhaps it's not fantasy but metaphysics?While it is hard to describe this book in a paragraph, it's certain to grab your fancy and just not let go.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good read again, and again and again
I've just reread "A Fine and Private Place" which I first read in my mid 20s.I'm now in my mid 50s.
Certain books you reread and you wonder what was the appeal when you first read them. This book retains its voice through culture change and changes that come with age.
Why it hasn't been made into a movie is beyond me.Opps. forgot Hollywood is business not art!

3-0 out of 5 stars Rated PG - Not what I was in the mood for...
Definitely take the other reviews into account. I think I was in the wrong mood for reading this book. I liked the premise, but it's more of a contemplative book than a plot driven book and I didn't care very much about what it was contemplating. Still, it kept me interested enough to read the whole thing...

Foul Language - One or two or three instances of mildly foul language.
Sex - Not really. It's discussed a little bit. There's one scene where a couple almost falls into it. I think it's handled appropriately.
Violence - No. Be aware that murder and suicide are discussed, but only non-violent means.

5-0 out of 5 stars My heart loves Beagle
I have never read a Peter Beagle book that I did not fall in love with.My very favorite being "Folk of the Air".His style is unique, ironic, and beautiful."A Fine and Private Place" is one of the true masterpieces of this age.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sometimes yes, sometimes not

Been reading Peter S. Beagle ever since he wrote magazine articles; fell in love with the Last Unicorn and wished he'd asked me to illustrate it, and A Fine & Private Place is another one like that. I've never spent any time in New York, but the characters ring true, and the story is wonderful.

Authors are supposed to get better with age, and Beagle, for my money, has gotten uneven instead(I had a hard time forgiving him for a couple of his short story collections, not to mention the book about the cat). But in this book he does not dip into maudlin nor stretch your credulity until it tears (Folk of the Air does both several times, although it too is a good story and well told).This is pure, vintage Beagle with a great story. ... Read more

3. The Line Between
by Peter S. Beagle
Paperback: 206 Pages (2006-08-15)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$8.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1892391368
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

The long-awaited sequel to the popular classic The Last Unicorn is the centerpiece of this powerful collection of new tales from a fantasy master. As longtime fans have come to expect, the stories are written with a grace and style similar to fantasy's most original voices, such as J. R. R. Tolkien, Fritz Leiber, and Kurt Vonnegut. Traditional themes are typically infused with modern sensibilities—reincarnated lovers and waning kings rub shoulders with heroic waifs; Schmendrick the Magician returns to adventure, as does the ghost of an off-Broadway actor and a dream-stealing shapeshifter; and Gordon, the delightfully charming "self-made cat," appears for the first time in print, taking his place alongside Stuart Little as a new favorite of the young at heart. This wide-ranging compilation contains sly humor and a resounding depth that will charm fans of literary fantasy.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Two Perfect Short Stories and some Excellent Work!
The two perfect short stories are "Gordon, The Self Made Cat"and "Two Hearts". The former is an allegoryabout a mouse who decides to go to school to become a cat, the latter is a worthy end note to Beagle's previous and wondrous The Last Unicorn.Savour them, read them to your children or grandchildren. In and of themselves they are worth adding this book to your collection.

With the exception "Quarry" which, not having read Beagle'sThe Innkeeper's Song (its an exploration of how two characters met), I found too cryptic at the beginning, the remaining stories are solid and enjoyable.The best of these is "A Dance for Emilia" which is a wistful saga of reconciliation with youthful dreams,"El Regalo", a coming of age story of a young teenager and her younger brother. and "Salt Wine", a cautionary tale about friendships,mer-people and business. Another story of interest was the Sherlockian "Mr. Siegerson", which takes place during "the lost years of Sherlock Holmes", casting an Austrian concert master in the role of a narrator Watson.It's a good character driven mystery on its own, though Siegerson is a better violinist than Holmes has any right to be.

The remaining item in the collection "Four Fables" is a set of humorous shorts in the tradition of Aesop.


4-0 out of 5 stars Some Good Stories, Some Great Ones
I'm a pretty typical Peter Beagle fan in that my first encounter with Peter Beagle's writing was reading The Last Unicorn.Over the nearly forty years since then, I have looked forward to any new publication of his.

I'm not, in general, a huge fan of fantasy novels or stories.Beagle, however, does a better job than almost anybody else of creating fantasy that is realistic enough to be believable.His fantasies seem natural to me; at the same time, there are enough surprises to keep the reader (at least if I'm the reader) interested.

There are some real gems here.El Regalo, for which Beagle first considered the title My Stupid Brother Marvyn the Witch, is an absolute delight, hilarious and terrifying by turns.Schmendrick (my favorite Beagle character), Mollie Grue, King Lir, and the unicorn reappear in Two Hearts, which is a tale well-told indeed.Salt Wine is a wonderful story of the price that must be paid for any happiness.

I'd say that the least successful piece here is A Dance for Emilia, which, of course, has already been published in book form.The fantasy here seems forced to me, while, paradoxically, I don't think that there's enough of it.In fact, the whole story seems forced.Both it and Mr. Sigerson seem to have too little content to justify their length.

4-0 out of 5 stars like fine wine: Beagle's writing keeps improving as he ages
(This review previously appeared in the bulletin of the Mythopoeic Society, www.mythsoc.org)

This long-anticipated new collection of short stories by Peter S. Beagle fulfilled this reader's hopes. Readers can see the culmination of a long life of writing distilled here, as his many styles and interests come together in one book rather like an apartment building between the worlds, with each story exploring new quirky characters inhabiting each room, whether temporarily or for generations.

Each story is prefaced by a Beagle-penned paragraph describing how it came into being. Allowing the reader in on its creation in this way adds to the joy and anticipation of entering the story. In particular, the preface to TwoHearts, a short-story sequel to The Last Unicorn, entices and charms, as Beagle explains how he moved from a stance of `a sequel can't, and won't, be done' to getting slowly snookered into writing it by his friend and publicist. How? By enticing Beagle to write one new story based in that world. Once there, of course, four of the main characters happened to show up. Then Beagle fell in love with the new main character, a feisty young woman named Sooz -- so now, an entire novel may be lurking in our future. Hooray!Readers are similarly led to anticipate more stories following the siblings in El Regalo, to be collected in a book entitled "My Stupid Brother Marvin the Witch." Who can resist a title like that?

Other stories in the collection showcase Beagle's wide-ranging ability to combine the magickal with the ordinary, while playing with several literary styles as seen across his earlier work, from his motorcycle travel saga I See By My Outfit to the somewhat tongue-in-cheek Folk of the Air. One can also see the aging man as author of these stories, with the wit and wisdom of a grandfather amusedly musing over his life and the many types of fictional worlds he's entered earlier. "Gordon, the Self-Made Cat" was originally a humorous morality tale for his children while small. "Four Fables" is a paean to his own exposure to serious fables as a child. (He also drops the tantalizing historical tidbit that Aesop was done in...)."Mr. Sigerson" pays homage to Sherlock Holmes. "Quarry" brings back the world of The Innkeeper's Song, in order to answer the question posed to him about how Soukyan originally met his shapeshifting fox companion. Since Beagle had no idea how to answer, he wrote this story to find out. Quarry contains an encounter with houses that are not houses, but something else, something malevolent posing as the familiar in order to lure in the prey... a motif that I must admit I found unforgettable, as it echoes some of my deepest childhood nightmares.

These stories all have a sense of continual discovery and wonder. Even when a tale has a twist to the end like the best-planned mysteries, you get the feeling that Beagle was surprised and delighted by it too.These stories do not feel contrived, but organic, flowering madly where and how they will.And the characters are what drives them. One of my favorites, Salt Wine,is told in the voice of the crusty old sailor Ben Hazeltine, "not some seagoing candy-trews dandy Captain Jack...I can promise you" (p 135), who gets involved in a business deal involving a recipe conned out of a merrow. And the final tale, "A Dance for Emilia," is a magical-realism homage to friends who have passed on too soon.

These are tales no young person could have penned. It takes the wisdom and the pain of years to bring about this sort of poignant appreciation, this combination of gentle love and no-B.S. crankypants humor. It's a beautiful collection, and one that provides thrilling anticipation of more to come.Like Theodore Sturgeon before him, Beagle is proving himself a master bard whose tales use wild rolling imagination to kindle the reader's heart.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book
Peter S. Beagle's one of my new favorite writers and this book has a great collection of stories.He's able to write in a lot of styles, and no matter if he's writing from the perspective on a child or adult, his insights and use of words are always witty and honest.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Line Between
Short stories are a tricky thing to write - many authors open their own collections with a note about how silly they were to attempt the form.Not surprising, since a short story is not simply a novel with the details cut out.Short story writing requires a precise sense of pacing and an almost directoral view of the subject matter.There are not hundreds of pages to develop characters and create mood; the best the short story writer can do is point out to you the defining moments of a character or a scene and hope you can keep up.Short fiction is most often effective to offer a setup leading to a quick plot twist or a startling ending, not for world-building or profound observations on the human psyche.
That said, the depth of feeling contained in the latest Peter Beagle book is astounding.Twice as much when you consider that this is a short story collection, not a novel.No story spans more than forty pages - a few run no more that five, but many have their own emotional resonance most novelists dream of.
There are plenty of funny, quick reads throughout the collection too.In Gordon, the Self-Made Cat a mouse with no desire to play the traditional role of bait earns his cat card and the respect of his fellow felines.A set of four fables, while feeling a little rushed in execution, have deliciously cynical morals.Salt Wine puts some grand old seagoing-myths on their heads, and Quarry fills in yet another piece of the world of Innkeeper's Song and the short story collection from the same world.There's also A Dance For Emilia -a beautiful story of friendship and love printed here for every fan who missed the much overlooked gift book edition from several years ago.
There is always a strong musical theme running through Beagle's work - and of course there is one musical story here: Mr. Sigerson.Mr. Siegerson is a brilliant violinist and also a persona of the great Sherlock Holmes.In this mystery, Holmes and the conductor of a Norwegian orchestra uncover underhanded dealings and an illicit affair and any musician will recognize one of their own in the narrator and characters of the story.
The real jewels in this book are El Regalo and Two Hearts.El Regalointroduces two new characters, Marvyn and Angie.With promises to tell their whole story in a novel, Beagle introduces two kids growing up in Avicenna and growing into some magical powers.Marvyn, like any well-balanced kid, uses his abilities to take out the garbage and wash the dishes, but Angie is still concerned that his powers might get them into trouble.When Angie makes an embarrassing choice to confess her love to a boy at school, Marvyn rushes in to save the day and lands both of them in last Thursday, possibly permanently.Two Hearts is quite simply a gift to any fan of The Last Unicorn.In Beagle's earlier days he created each book in its own world, and the short stories that he wrote never went back to those places.After more than thirty years, the story is told of Shmendrick and Molly Grue's further adventures, along with Lir and the land he rules.Two Hearts seems almost to be something dug up from the days immediately following the writing of The Last Unicorn.The characters remain as true to themselves as any reader could hope and again, Beagle promises a full-length story of Sooz, the narrator.
Once again, Beagle has topped his previous efforts and not only re-asserted his status as a master of the Fantasy genre, but shown that he still has plenty more stories to tell us. ... Read more

4. We Never Talk About My Brother
by Peter S. Beagle
Paperback: 256 Pages (2009-03-15)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$5.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 189239183X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

"By Moonlight" by Peter S. Beagle was named Best Novelette at the 2010 Locus Awards. The novelette comes from the collection We Never Talk About My Brother

Modern parables of love, death, and transformation are peppered with melancholy in this extraordinary collection of contemporary fantasy. Each short story cultivates a whimsical sense of imagination and reveals a mature, darker voice than previously experienced from this legendary author. In one tale the Angel of Death enjoys newfound celebrity while moonlighting as an anchorman on the network news, while in another the shortsighted ruler of a gentle realm betrays himself in dreaming of a "manageable war." Further storylines include an American librarian who discovers that, much to his surprise and sadness, he is the last living Frenchman, and rivals in a supernatural battle who decide to forgo pistols at dawn, choosing instead to duel with dramatic recitations of terrible poetry. Featuring several previously unpublished stories alongside a bevy of recently released works, this haunting compilation is appealing to both genre readers and mainstream literature lovers.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wow!
I almost never like short stories because if they are good they leave me wanting more, and if they are bad, well, they're bad.It is *incredibly* hard to write good short science fiction or fantasy for that reason.In fact, I haven't enjoyed much short fiction since I read Isaac Asimov's shorts in the 70's and 80's.

But this collection, foisted upon me by my daughter, and opened with trepidation, is absolutely fantastic.Each story is excellent, and yet each is fully completed.This is spectacularly simple looking, but spectacularly difficult to do.I am really in awe of Mr. Beagle at this point, and intend on reading everything I can find from him.Read this book if you like science fiction, fantasy, short stories, fiction in general, or a good book in general.You won't be sorry.:)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonder-full stories
I checked this out of the library, and after the second story, I knew I had to buy this book. The stories are short, but worth reading more than once. Every story is a gem, and I have recommended this book to several people.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, marveolous, fantastical
This book, which includes eight short stories and a poem, is really one of the best story collections that I've ever read. There is really not a dull or drab story in the bunch. Every story in this collection is fantastical, beautiful and marvelous. The writing is supurb, the settings are colorful and varied, and the characters come alive.

Before now, the only other book that I had read by this author was The Last Unicorn, which I loved. Now, having read this, I declare myself a fan of Peter S. Beagle, and I will be looking to read more of his work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beagle's Best Collection Yet
This collection of nine short fiction pieces blows away not only other genre releases, but places Peter Beagle squarely as the voice to match in contemporary fiction. BROTHER got starred reviews in both Booklist and Publishers Weekly!

Each story is a gem, in and of itself justifying the purchase.Whether laughing at the sillier side of Beagle in "Spook," where two parties fight over possession of an apartment using bad poetry, or wiping away a tear at the moving story of "King Pellas the Sure," I found this book delightful to read. The title story is dark, sharp, and unforgettable. "The Last and Only, or, Mr. Moscowitz Becomes French" is the perfect counterbalance; a story that calls out both our imagination and our sympathy. The stories take turns showing up in my brain to contemplate again and again - they really stick with you.

For years I was a fan of The Last Unicorn, but hadn't read Peter Beagle's other fiction.If this is you, you owe it to yourself to pick this up and see how diverse and powerful his writing can be while maintaining his characteristic blending great characters with real emotion.How many authors can make you laugh and cry at the same time? I got my copy from Conlan Press, which represents Beagle, to ensure the purchase of the book supports the author and encourages him to keep creating such magic.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beagle's Back!
It's been 2 1/2 years since Peter Beagle's last collection came out.Far too long a time!Still, here are nine stories and seven interlinked poems for the Beagle enthusiast.With the exception of the poems, all have been written since 2007 and two have never been in print before.

'Uncle Chaim and Aunt Rifke and the Angel' starts off the collection with a story about a Jewish portrait painter and the Angel who comes to be both his muse and model.The story is told by the painter's young nephew and is full of telling details, love and quiet horror.

'We Never Talk About My Brother' is one of the best stories in this collection.Two brothers have the extraordinary gift of being able to alter the world.Not change the future, mind you.If they change something than it's been this way forever, past as well as future, and the original way the world moved is simply gone.One brother dislikes the power and never uses it at all.The other brother is a newscaster and used his power to make the evening news more exciting and action-packed, in the worst of ways.This tale is probably the closest Beagle has ever gotten to writing science fiction, and strongly reminds one of the best works of such writers as Theodore Sturgeon and Algis Budrys.Still, it's completely original and an extremely fitting title story for this collection.

'The Tale Of Junko And Sayuri' deals with Japanese mythology.Junko is a good man but ambitious and he desires things that, in Japan, he could never have due to his birth status and class level.Sayuri, a shapeshifter, falls in love with him and, in human form, marries him.She sees his ambitions and will do anything, including corrupting herself, to give him those things he desires.This tale is violent, dark and tragic.It is also extremely well-written.

'King Pelles The Sure' is possibly the best story in this book.Pelles is a king, kind and good-hearted but none too wise.His kingdom is quiet and peaceful and...well, dull.To liven things up he decides to start a limited war.Just a little one, mind you, started quick and finished quicker.To his horror, he learns that there is not such a thing as a limited war, not to those in the middle of it.Pelles learns his wisdom a little too late but learn it he does.The ending to this story is quiet, sure-footed and exactly right.A real gem.

Next, Beagle moves to an avant-garde, New Yorker style tale.'The Last And Only, or, Mr. Moscowski Becomes French' is a tale of an American librarian who slowly becomes aware that he is turning into the last genuine Frenchman.More French than any actual Frenchman could ever hope to be.This is a humorous story of sorts, although a bit black in nature, and is a demonstration of Beagle's considerable range.

A giant step away from the previous story, 'Spook' is low comedy, with Farrell--a character who's appeared in numerous Beagle stories and novels--involved in a duel with a ghost over his lady love.The duel, however, is not conducted with guns or knives or even wit.It is conducted with streams of bad--horribly bad--poetry.The real joke of this story is that ALL of the hideous poems recounted are real poems written by actual literary figures. And they are truly horrible!This reader was moved to both wincing laughter at the wrong turns the poets went down and a certain amount of pain and recrimination at Beagle for having put all those tacky poems in my head.

'The Stickball Witch' appears in print for the first time, although it appeared as a podcast last year at the Green Man Review website (there are four other brand new Beagle podcast stories there, which have NOT seen print yet, so you might want to wander over there and give a listen).Set in the early 1950s, it relates the story of a group of boys, fast friends and stickball enthusiasts all, and their encounter with the neighborhood witch.ALL neighborhoods, when you're a child, have a witch-in-residence and this particular lady is a doozy!

'By Moonlight' is brand new and tells the story of an on the run highwayman who one frostly night stumbles upon an old man and a fire.The old man takes him in, warms him, feeds him and then proceeds to tell him a story of Titania and Oberon.A tale of Tir na nOg.A tale of Fairie and a tale of wits.Wits both Fairie born and Human made.And love, of a sort and a kind.The more you think on this story, the better it is.

'The Unicorn Tapestries' are the oldest items in this book.Written in the 1970s for a never published book about the famous medieval tapestries, stored in New York, these seven linked poems are seeing their first wide exposure.They are well worth reading.

'Chandail' is another story set in the world of Beagle's fine novel THE INNKEEPER'S SONG.As told by Lal, a principal character in that novel and now well advanced in age, the chandail is a sea creature--an ugly thing that becomes more beautiful the longer you look upon it.It is a telepath of sorts, able to communicate with humans via thought pictures, although the pictures a chandail sends are often tainted by the human's own memories--and how a human understands those pictures can be quite a different thing from what the chandail intended.Lal hates the chandail, because they show her memories of things she's lost and can never regain.She regards the chandail's efforts at communication as a form of mind rape so when she comes upon a horribly injured chaidail on the beach she doesn't flee or, as the creature wishes, kill it.Instead she attempts to tow the chandail out to deep water, though whether through mercy or cruelty even she is unsure. What follows is a trip through betrayal, horror and wisdom that tells you a great deal about Lal and, possibly, a small amount about you.

Look, if you've previously read anything by Beagle, you already know this book is worth the money spent.If you're a new reader, know this.Nobody in the fantasy field today is a better, more wide-ranging or wiser writer than Peter S. Beagle.Not Charles de Lint, who provides a fine introduction to this volume.Not Neil Gaiman, who's gone out of his way to praise Beagle's work on his blog.Not J. K. Rowling.Not anybody.You're never going to be sorry you've read any of his books.You're never going to be sorry you've purchased and read *this* book.For older readers--Hallelujah!For you newest readers, who are encountering him for the first time, how I envy you.You're about to fall in love. ... Read more

5. Mirror Kingdoms: The Best of Peter S. Beagle
by Peter S. Beagle
Hardcover: 456 Pages (2010-02-28)
list price: US$40.00 -- used & new: US$40.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1596062916
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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When New York Times Bestselling writer Tad Williams described Peter S. Beagle as a 'bandit prince out to steal reader's hearts' he touched on a truth that readers have known for fifty years. Beagle, whose work has touched generations of readers around the world, has spun rich, romantic and very funny tales that have beguiled and enchanted readers of all ages.

Undeniably, his most famous work is the much loved classic, The Last Unicorn, which tells of unicorn who sets off on quest to discover whether she is the last of her kind, and of the people she meets on her journey. Never prolific, The Last Unicorn is one of only five novels Beagle has published since A Fine and Private Place appeared in 1960, and was followed by The Folk of the Air, The Innkeeper's Song, and Tamsin.

During the first forty years of his career Beagle also wrote a small handful, scarcely a dozen, short stories. Classics like 'Come Lady Death,' 'Lila and the Werewolf,' 'Julie's Unicorn,' 'Professor Gottesman and the Indian Rhinoceros,' and the tales that make up Giant Bones. And then, starting just five years ago, he turned his attention to short fiction in earnest, and produced a stunning array of new stories including the Hugo and Nebula Award winning follow up to The Last Unicorn, 'Two Hearts,' WSFA Small Press Award winner 'El Regalo,' and wonderful stories like the surrealist 'The Last and Only,' the haunting 'The Rabbi s Hobby' and others.

Mirror Kingdoms: The Best of Peter S. Beagle collects the very best of these stories, over 200,000 words worth, ranging across 45 years of his career from early stories to freshly minted tales that will surprise and amaze readers. It's a book which shows, more than any other, just how successful this bandit prince from the streets of New York has been at stealing our hearts and underscores how much we hope he ll keep on doing so. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Stunning, but could have been perfect
This really is a very good collection of Peter Beagle's shorter work. There is some early work here but the lion share is made up by Beagle's excellent burst of short fiction in the last few years. Whereas his novel output the last 12 years or so has been non-existent, short stories is the area where he has become one of the masters of the SFF genre.

In his introduction Beagle notes that he often has several drafts even for these novelettes ( nearly all stories here are some 20-30 pages), sometimes doing a story 7 times. He does this because he feels there is very little room for mistakes in a shorter work as opposed to a novel, which may well be true. The stories feel expertly crafted as a result. The subjects vary greatly but the style and depth of intelligence is always there.

The only downside of this book is that there is no original material in it, and secondly that many ( but not all) of the stories here have already been collected in the Tachyon collections "The Line Between" and "We never talk about my brother". This made me go back and forth several times before I decided to purchase this otherwise awesome and very well made book ( it's pricy but lovingly produced with excellent paper and a good cover, shame about the type used for the table of contents btw). I would have liked the collection to be even bigger, containing some new materials. As an aside, there's new Beagle stories in "Beastly Bride" "Warriors" "Full Moon City" and "Eclipse 3" for those interested. Another niggle I have is that the book is supposedly edited by Jonathan Strahan but he does not even contribute a preface/introduction or afterword to this book. Some sort of essay on Beagle's work by Strahan would surely have been of added value to this collection.

Summing up, a landmark collection of Beagle stories, many of which will be new to readers who do not already have two Tachyon collections listed above, and as such well worth buying now that you still can, also as a collector's item because the book is already out of print with the publisher. The collection could have been made perfect with some extra essays from Beagle experts or the editor, and some previously unpublished stories.

5-0 out of 5 stars the best of Peter Beagle
//Mirror Kingdoms// is a career-spanning retrospective collection of eighteen stories from Peter S. Beagle.The oldest story in this anthology, //Come Lady Death//, was published in 1963, while the newest//The Tale of Junko and Sayuri//, was published in 2008.

There are some true classic stories in //Mirror Kingdoms// and Beagle's recent flourishing of short fiction is just as strong as the work he did decades ago.Recent stories such as //The Last and Only// and //Uncle Chaim and Aunt Rifke and the Angel// can stand next to Beagle's classics //Lila the Werewolf//and //Julie's Unicorn//and nobody would blink.Here, we have touching and quietly thrilling stories that demonstrate just why Beagle is as revered as he is.

//Mirror Kingdoms// is the collection of a short fiction master and truly deserves to be considered a "Best Of" collection.//Mirror Kingdoms// is a must read collection for fans of Beagle and for those who have not yet discovered his excellence.

Reviewed by Joe Sherry ... Read more

6. The Last Unicorn
by Peter S. Beagle
Paperback: 304 Pages (1991-01-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$8.48
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451450523
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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A unicorn, a haphazard wizard, and a spunky scullery woman journey to the dreaded kingdom of Haggaard, an evil ruler who, with the help of a bull-shaped demon, imprisons all the unicorns of the world. Reissue.Amazon.com Review
The Last Unicorn is one of the true classics offantasy, ranking with Tolkien's The Hobbit, Le Guin'sEarthseaTrilogy, and Lewis Carroll's Alice inWonderland. Beagle writes a shimmering prose-poetry, the voiceof fairy tales and childhood:

The unicorn lived in alilac wood, and she lived all alone. She was very old, though she didnot know it, and she was no longer the careless color of sea foam butrather the color of snow falling on a moonlit night. But her eyes werestill clear and unwearied, and she still moved like a shadow on thesea.

The unicorn discovers that she is the lastunicorn in the world, and sets off to find the others. She meetsSchmendrick the Magician--whose magic seldom works, and never as heintended--when he rescues her from Mommy Fortuna's Midnight Carnival,where only some of the mythical beasts displayed are illusions. Theyare joined by Molly Grue, who believes in legends despite herexperiences with a Robin Hood wannabe and his unmerry men. Ahead waitKing Haggard and his Red Bull, who banished unicorns from the land.

This is a book no fantasy reader should miss; Beagle arguesbrilliantly the need for magic in our lives and the folly offorgetting to dream. --Nona Vero ... Read more

Customer Reviews (225)

4-0 out of 5 stars Very Good, but what's with all the typos??
I've seen the movie enough times to have lines memorized. At first, it was hard for me to get into the book on its own without hearing the voices of the actors and utilizing my own imagination for the look of the land. I kept reading, though, and it eventually became its own story to me, which I like.

I was mostly impressed with the words of Peter S. Beagle. I had no idea that he was such a wonderful, lyrical writer. I actually underlined several passages that I loved, and I look forward to re-reading this again in the future, especially to my children.

However, I would like to find another copy of this book that does not have so many typos! There were several places where quotations were unclosed, or thoughts of characters were only half-italicized (or not at all), so I had to re-read several paragraphs to figure out who was speaking. There were a couple of times I saw "thn" instead of "the," etc.

So I'll say be sure to cozy up with this book, but look for a different edition.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Timeless Treasure
This book has become a classic and is a must for the believers at heart. If you were not a believer, the book will make you wonder, and it does cause you to yearn for that first site of a Unicorn. Would we be able to recognise one or would we be more like the unbelievers and only see what we expect. This is a fabulous book for both young and old and I have not been without a copy since I first read it when it came out. This book is a fabulous read, and leaves you Yearning.......

5-0 out of 5 stars Review From Books & Wine
Seriously, I cannot think about unicorns without thinking about this book. And no, the unicorn in this book is not bloodthirsty. Although I had made up my mind earlier to be Team Unicorn, I think had I been on the fence, this book would definitely have pushed me onto Team Unicorn.

The Last Unicorn is a truly beautiful, breathtaking book. It is very short, but quite a bit is packed into those pages. We open with a unicorn walking through the forest she protects. She overhears some hunters talking about how they can never kill anything in the forest, because it is protected by the unicorn. The hunters go on to state how there are no other unicorns left in the world. The unicorn then takes it upon herself to discover just what happened to the other unicorns. Along the way adventures are had, friends are made, evil is faced, yet good is also discovered.

You know that feeling you get when reading a fairy tale and you have the perfect narrator? I got while reading The Last Unicorn. I felt like magic could be real. Of course, my emotions ran the gamut. At times I felt melancholy. I was not really sure what I wanted for the unicorn, as she had to make this hard decision, but if you read the book or have seen the movie, you'll know what I mean.

The Last Unicorn is a simple tale. I am sure that there is a deeper meaning, however, I haven't really figured it out. That's okay though, we can't all be brilliant at uncovering the underlying message. What I did enjoy was how imaginative the book was. I could picture everything as I was reading it. However, maybe that is due to seeing the movie in childhood. Or maybe I could attribute it to Beagle's writing. His prose is gorgeous. It is never too flowery, but still retains beauty.

The Last Unicorn is definitely a fantasy classic. It absolutely had me craving more fantasy, and I could see why the brilliant Patrick Rothfuss said it was one of his favorite books.

Here are a few quotes which made my spirit sing:

"I know exactly how you feel," Schmendrick said eagerly. The unicorn looked at him out of dark, endless eyes, and he smiled nervously and looked at his hands. "It's a rare man who is taken for what he truly is," he said. "There is much misjudgement in the world....we are not always what we seem, and hardly ever what we dream." pg. 29-30

"Men have to have heroes, but no man can ever be as big as that need, and so a legend grows around a grain of truth, like a pearl." pg. 64

3-0 out of 5 stars Not a Fantasy Masterpiece, but Still Enjoyable
Many people consider THE LAST UNICORN a fantasy classic, a work that ranks up there with masterpieces by Tolkien, CS Lewis, Richard Adams, and Urusula Le Guin.I enjoyed this short novel, but I wouldn't rank it that highly.

THE LAST UNICORN is a modernistic fairy tale (written in 1968) about a solitary unicorn hunting the world for the other members of her kind.The novel begins as a conventional quest story, but it eventually goes into some unique directions -- to his credit, author Beagle explores complex moral themes that most fantasy novels normally don't touch.Beagle's prose is also quite charming, funny, and readable.If you enjoy Neil Gaiman's work, you'll probably like this as well.

My main problem with THE LAST UNICORN lies in its characterization.Put simply, Beagle does not take enough time to flesh out his fairy tale characters.Most of them lack depth, and I often found myself puzzled about what motivated their behavior.I also found the central character of the Unicorn to be something of an unlikable cypher -- which made it hard for me to relate in any way to her quest.

THE LAST UNICORN is enjoyable enough, but my advice is to lower your expectations before reading it.Personally, I think the modern-day fantasy work of Neil Gaiman and George RR Martin is light years ahead of this book.That being said, this novel has legions of admirers, so you should definitely try it for yourself.

5-0 out of 5 stars To the critics:
This is one of my childhood favorites. That being said, it's also one of my favorites to reread, and hasn't yet gotten old.
Look somewhere else if you want a happy-go-lucky fairytale, where the witch is evil, and the hero is good, and everything is painted out in black and white. This follows in the vein of a more realistic fairytale, and compares with books such as Charles De Lint's Jack the Giant Killer. Instead of a multicolored Oz, Dorothy finds herself in a more muted fairyworld, where every color is a shade of grey.
Personally, I think it makes for a much more realistic tale, and appeals more to an older crowd, who can understand that fantasy does not necessarily have to be lit up in neon pixie lights for it to be fantastic.
If you can appreciate something outside the mainstream? I would definitely give this book a read. I promise, it will become a favorite. ... Read more

7. The Secret History of Fantasy
Paperback: 432 Pages (2010-07-22)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$9.38
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1892391996
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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This ingenious anthology posits that fantasy fiction is on a new path: series novels that chronicle epic adventures have been joined by tales where mythology, fairy tales, and archetypes are fully re-imagined into a new modern literature. Anthologist and author Peter S. Beagle represents both the traditional and the new, having written the introduction to The Lord of the Rings as well as the inventive fantasy novel, The Last Unicorn. In this exciting, canonic volume, Beagle showcases gifted writers who began to rediscover older fantasy classics and to redefine fantasy in their own unique voices. Innovative authors in this anthology include Robert Holdstock, Gregory Maguire, Neal Gaiman, Francesca Lia Block, Steven Millhauser, and others who have lead the way to expanding imaginative frontiers. From the depths of an dangerous English forest to the staircase at the edge of the world, on a caffeinated journey to the empire of ice cream to the maze in the Barnum museum, you'll discover the wonder of favorite childhood tales made modern and fresh once again.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Best reprint collection this year!
This book is simply the best collection of reprint stories this year.It's worth the price simply to read Octavia Butler's 'Book Of Martha', but there isn't a weak story here.The tales collected just go from strength to strength.Some stories, such as the King, Gaiman, & Holstock selections were old friends but there were many I'd never read before and some I'd come close to forgetting.I was also particularly impressed with the Ford, Beagle and McHugh tales.

It's also extremely nice that most of the stories are fairly recent.The oldest copyright is 1977 but most of the stories appeared in the last ten years.

Sometimes you come across an anthology that gives every evidence of changing the way you think about something.A door opens that's perhaps always been there but it's one you've never explored.I've had that experience several times in my life--with such anthologies as Dangerous Visions, Dark Forces, 666 and others, and with single author story collections such as Sturgeon Is Alive And Well; The October Country, Mirror Kingdoms, Slippage, etc.This is one of those books. Thoughtful, elegant and satisfying.

You owe it to yourself to read this and then pass it along.It would make a great Christmas gift for someone you care about. ... Read more

8. The Rhinoceros Who Quoted Nietzsche and Other Odd Acquaintances
by Peter S. Beagle
Paperback: 186 Pages (2003-09-01)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$9.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1892391090
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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This overview of Peter Beagle's extraordinary career as a fantasist contains seven short stories and three essays as well as a new preface by the author. It also features the original whimsical Chesley Award-winning cover illustration by talented Bay Area artist Michael Dashow. The Last Unicorn, Beagle's most beloved novel, was an underground bestseller in the late 1960s and 1970s. This collection includes two of Beagle's popular unicorn stories, "Professor Gottesman and the Indian Rhinoceros" and "Julie's Unicorn," as well as "Lila the Werewolf," which is anthologized in the Oxford Book of Fantasy, and a tribute to J. R. R. Tolkien, "The Naga." ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

3-0 out of 5 stars Loved the Rhinoceros and Lady Death, but not much else.
At Balticon 40, Neil Gaiman and Peter S. Beagle shared a stage for the first time. Gaiman revealed that his character Death from "The Sandman" was inspired by Beagle's short story, "Come Lady Death". That noteworthy tidbit aside, this short story anthology's namesake is the jewel of the bunch. It's a poignant absurdist tale of a philosophical rhinoceros who fancies itself a unicorn, and the lonely intellectual old professor who becomes its friend.

The other tales weren't as strong or richly textured, but I felt these two tales were worth my purchase of the whole collection.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Rhinoceros Who Quoted Nietzsche
This is a collection of short stories that proves yet again that Peter Beagle is a master of the form.Unlike the last collection, Giant Bones, this book collects stories spanning decades of his career, including Come Lady Death (my first encounter with Beagle's work) the story of an elderly socialite so bored with her opulent parties she invites Death to her next soiree to liven the scene up a bit.
In the titular story an educated Rhino shares living space with a professor who politely (if somewhat confusedly) debates philosophy and drinks tea with his unexpected guest.Fans of the exceptional Folk Of The Air will delight in both a prequel and sequel short story featuring the same characters.In Lila The Werewolf (written before Folk Of The Air) we meet Joe Farrell for the first time, dating a girl who has an emotionally smothering mother and a tendency to become a giant wolf at the full moon.In Julie's Unicorn Farrell and Julie find themselves tending to a tiny unicorn Julie has freed from a tapestry.
There are also three stories from the 1950s, giving readers a chance to revel in glimpses of Beagle's college writing (and offering a window into his impressions of his time in Pittsburgh, PA) and a section of essays.For all the brilliance of Beagle'sfiction writing his essays still surprised me with their inviting, chatty tone and the penetrating observations he makes about what he sees around him in the world.
This is an essential collection for any Beagle fans, and an excellent introduction to all the facets of Beagle's writing for the new reader.

4-0 out of 5 stars And Now, Live From New York, It's Pliny The Elder...
This is an odd little collection of sundry works spanning a long period in Peter S. Beagle's career. I read on average two fiction books a year (I read mostly technical nonfiction), but was so intrigued by the title of this book, that I purchased it for some light reading. On the whole I enjoyed it quite a bit, though the final section of elderly magazine columns were a bit past their prime.

I was extremely pleased at an introductory concept Beagle explained in the preface: he had conceived of a mock-newscast featuring Pliny the Elder reporting on news about mythical beings. From this concept, "The Naga" is the only representative story available. I liked "The Naga" but must say that my favorite in the book was the book from whence the title came, "Professor Gottesman and the Indian Rhinoceros," a truly amusing and charming story about friendship, featuring a rhino that thinks it's a unicorn. (Or is it?) I was also very entertained by "Julie's Unicorn." I was not enthralled with the title, but found the cavorting around art galleries and in a VW microbus named "Madame Schumann-Heink" to be much better than I had expected. On the down side, I did not really care for the darkness in "Lila the Werewolf," and also found it drag a bit, though Beagle demonstrated his exceptional grasp of character development in the characters of Lila and her mother.

The nonfiction magazine efforts were uninspiring to me, and I especially tired of the lengthy piece "The Poor People's Campaign" about a misdirected, misguided, crime-infused post-Martin Luther King civil rights action in Washington. Although Beagle was clearly sympathetic to the movement, I think he was extremely balanced in his coverage, and made no effort to hide the unattractive underbelly of the campaign. I actually thought the piece was well written (although I don't even pretend to agree with him on LBJ's motivations) but was in need of editing: it comes in at 17 pages, and would have been much more powerful at 10 or 12.

Overall, this is a charming collection of Beagle works from a variety of publications and formats, across a long period of time. I recommend the book without reservation.

4-0 out of 5 stars What a wonderful little book....
I've read this three times now, and each time the collection just gets better.As an introduction to Peter S. Beagle, it's a good starting point, especially if you find the whimsicality of The Last Unicorn to your liking.Even the cover art by Mike Dashow introduces you to the unique worlds created by Peter Beagle.The title story alone is worth the price of the book, and, ah, if only we could all have a visitor like that to our library!I do recommend this - as well as all of Peter's titles - and this one is easily found through the publisher, Tachyon, as well.Kudos to them for printing such a delightful book.

3-0 out of 5 stars An average Beagle read
I am a huge Peter S. Beagle fan and so was a bit disappointed after reading this book. The stories are a variety of very early fiction and non fiction works and then pieces from his later years; however, I was not impressed with his non fiction pieces. Don't fret though. These stories are still told in that familar and wonderful Beagle style, and there are some stories that are truly touching ("My Daughter's Name Is Sarah" comes to mind). If you are new to the works of Peter S. Beagle and want something truly indicative of his style, I don't recommend starting with this book. It's good, but it's not great. ... Read more

9. Sleight of Hand
by Peter S. Beagle
Paperback: 288 Pages (2011-03-01)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$10.08
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1616960043
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Abundant with tales of quiet heroism, life-changing decisions, and determined searches for deep answers, this extraordinary collection of contemporary fantasy explores the realms between this world and the next. From the top of the Berlin Wall to the depths of the darkest seas, gods and monsters battle their enemies and innermost fears, yet mere mortals make the truly difficult choices. A slightly regretful author and a vengeful-but-dilapidated dragon square off over an abandoned narrative; the children of the Shark God demand painful truths from their chronically absent father; and a bereaved women sacrifices herself to change one terrible moment, effortlessly reversed by a shuffle of the deck. Whether melancholic, comedic, or deeply tragic, each new tale is suffused with misdirection and discovery, expressed in the rich and mesmerizing voice of a masterful storyteller.

... Read more

10. Folk of the Air
by Peter S Beagle
 Hardcover: Pages

Asin: B001133ZOI
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (7)

4-0 out of 5 stars Fantasy about Fantasy.
Here's what for me has always been the greatest paradox about academic life: in order to secure a position in the world for oneself that allows for the cultivation of a rich, colorful and sophisticated inner life, one's outer life has to be thoroughly routinized, riskless, and (at least in a certain sense, let's face it) pretty damn boring. Some professors who realize this belatedly do stupid things like sleeping with their students, making catastrophic investments of their savings or driving around in flashy sports cars. Others (more sensible and imaginative folks, in my book) join the SCA.

Beagle's book about the SCA is a wonderful, sympathetic but unsentimental expose of the people around universities who've adopted this eccentric way of life. He's a magnificent stylist and his characters are as complex and fully realized as those of any fantasy writer I've read, even including China Mieville. THE FOLK OF THE AIR also contains the best-portrayed dog in all of western literature, IMHO. The ending is shallowly pyrotechnical and many of the novel's central issues unresolved, but it doesn't ruin the fun.

5-0 out of 5 stars Folk Of The Air
This is by far my favorite Peter Beagle book (which is really saying something!)

Folk of the Air begins with Joe Farrell's return to Avicenna, California and an attempted robbery.Farrell has gone back to the town of his youth to stay with his old friend Ben and his unlikely companion Sia.Farrell is content with the strange dynamics in Sia and Ben's relationship, with their skittish dog, even with the house's windows, which defy counting properly.
The local League for Archaic Pleasures gives Farrell's on-again off-again lover Julie a place to dance and wear her beautiful period costumes, and Farrell a place to play his lute. The League also gives Ben a place to hide his "Egil" spells, the unpredictable swapping of his consciousness with that of a ninth century Viking.What starts to disturb Farrell is the obnoxious Aiffe, daughter of the League King who seems to have a little actual magic going on around her, and her disquieting friend Nicholas Bonner.When Farrell begins to piece together the odd occurrences surrounding Aiffe and Nicholas and can't get his friends to admit that something is wrong, he decides to solve the mysteries of the world around him no matter how much they resist being solved.

I love handing this book to people who refuse to read fantasy novels, because it's set in a very real world where a little magic has leaked in.The characters are richly realized but utterly believable, from their refusal to admit to what they have witnessed because it isn't logical to their quiet acceptance of impossible things that mold their lives.A newsletter I subscribe to asks authors what book they wish they could read again for the first time; I would chose The Folk Of The Air.

5-0 out of 5 stars Practically perfect in every respect
Almost entirely a beautifully written book;a wonderful mystification of Berkeley/the West Coast.Nice,grim account of academic life:"I'll never have a good time like that again.Just tenure."A moving account of various relationships;refreshingly, although most are romantic none are the mommy-daddy-marriage-baby-return-to-the-patriarchal-family.The rest of these reviews seem to say a lot about the plot, so I will simply add that although this book does not have flawless racial politics (and what book does, really) it is one of the few character-driven fantasy novels by white writers where a significant number of the characters are not white, and plausibly not white. Phrases and images without number from this book have passed into my mental lexicon: "the fastest nostalgia in the West", "Nay, of us two, who's to be the judge of steel?", the fried rabbit restaurant ("Bunny Buckets", "Hare Pieces", and "Thumper's Forest Flavoring"), and the only even faintly plausible-seeming magical duel I have ever read.(I leave out the more emotionally engaging stuff, of which there is plenty)I am flabbergasted that any reviewer--however nostalgic for The Last Unicorn--could fail to appreciate this book.Of course, a lot of people are essentially embarassed by fantasy novels, so perhaps reviewers who could accept a fable about a unicorn were too embarassed about reading an actual fantasy novel to be able to appreciate it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Folk of the Air
Beagle seems to me to be a wise-guy author in the same way that racehorses sometimes are wise-guy horses. Those who know, or think they know, insist that every race is gonna be a winner. Or that the author is really the greatest unsung genius in the history of specfic.

The horses don't always win, and I could continue the analogy, but it's probably clear.

Folk of the Air is a competent urban fantasy. (Probably more like a 3 1/2 than a 3, really.) To me, its best feature was the well-characterized portrayal of an SCA-like organization. Sentence-level writing is smooth with a "transparent" style. There's little in the characterization, plot or concepts that I can point to and say "this is flawed". (Except for the idea that a sword could *cut* armor. I don't think so, but then, I'm not in the SCA.)

But the book didn't seem to have much emotional impact. I kept waiting for the big thing to happen, the moment of drama, the resolution of the "SCA" theme, and though battles and duels of wizardry do take place... it comes off a little flat to me, a little indecisive, as if the author doesn't really, on some level, believe in his own material.

5-0 out of 5 stars Deserves to be reprinted
Folk of the Air is a fantasy that I grew to love after two readings.Like all Beagle's novels, this one creates a world that is at once fantastic and humdrum, incredible and believable in a mixture that only a master like Peter S. Beagle can concoct.

The characters in this story have Beagle's trademark stamp of realism about them; you feel you know these people like your own family.How does Beagle do it?He manages to weave the petty details of day to day living into his stories in such a manner as to make his worlds come alive.The people seem too real for fiction, even though you know that the marvelous magic of this world is, sadly, all too missing from ours.

Anyone who has met the Society for Creative Anachronism will instantly recognize the behavior they encounter in this story; against the backdrop of medieval jousting tournament reenactments we meet a goddess, a man who can channel a Viking, and a talented young witch who gets dangerously involved with an evil spirit.

I can highly recommend this book and may some intelligent publisher pick it up and give it the distribution it deserves, that new generations of readers can discover Beagle's magic anew. ... Read more

11. Peter S. Beagle's Immortal Unicorn
Mass Market Paperback: 444 Pages (1999-05)
list price: US$5.99 -- used & new: US$5.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061059293
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Let Your Imagination Run Free

Peter S. Beagle's international classic The Last Unicorn has captivated readers for three decades. Now Beagle is back, with the help of co-editor Janet Berliner, with this magical volume of legendary stories that capture the essence of this best-loved mythical creature of all time and explore its immortal allure.

In this second volume of tales from Peter S. Beagle's Immortal Unicorn are fifteen more astonishing, delightful, and breathtaking stories by today's top fantasy authors--including a story original to this paperback edition by Peter S. Beagle himself. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

1-0 out of 5 stars Out of print
I hated this collection. It is a mash of wildly different themes, mainly uninteresting, pedestrian writing, and the whole concept was deeply exploitive of Beagle's own success. Indeed, the only well-crafted interesting short story in the mix was his "Professor Gottesman and the Indian Rhinoceros." There is no unifying type of story, with high brow literary works straining towards horror, some mild sprinkling of science fiction and urban fantasy. Many stories are simply incoherent; others include the mandatory reference to unicorns as an extremely minor chord. Altogether, this work is out of print and deserves to stay there.

5-0 out of 5 stars volume 2
Peter S. Beagle's fantastic world of unicorns and magic comes alive in a whole new way in this collection of extraordinary stories.Although all of the stories allude to unicorns in a fashion, nonconventional beliefs about them are expressed.Each individual author brings a new perspective.For example, in We Blazed, the "nicorn" is the representation of a man in his wife's mind, where he realizes what griefs consumed her whether they were true or false.In A Thief inthe Night, the narrator, the Antichrist, compares God to the immortal unicorn and one of the Christs to a beach comber.I loved the insight found in many of these stories; coping with life, love, and loss, the characters spread messages of hope or slight despair.All authors eloquently spoke with individual voices collected by the general themes of immortality and mortality.

3-0 out of 5 stars What's a unicorn doing in a book like this?
If you think you might enjoy a unicorn snuff film, you'll probably relish this short story collection.Beagle has collected a diverse set of fantasies about creatures very unlike the traditional colt-like being with a horn and a penchant for virgins (although a few of those time-honored beasts do show up in strange settings).He could very easily have done a bit of cut and paste and called his book, "Immortal Dragon," or "Immortal Manticore" for all the 'unicorn-ness' of the featured mythical beast.

Here is a sampling of the stories, starting with my two favorites:

"Professor Gottesman and the Indian Rhinoceros" by Peter S. Beagle - A unicorn in the guise of a smelly Indian Rhinoceros that loves to discuss the Scholastics and take hot baths?It works for Beagle, who exhibits his usual deft touch at the border between life and immortality.

"Gilgamesh Recidivus" by P.D. Cacek - a grim story of a man who tracks a unicorn through the cold barrens of Siberia, in order to beg for death, not immortality.

"The Devil on Myrtle Ave." by Eric Lustbader - a long, somewhat incoherent tale of a stone killer whose mother ODs on the first page.A little silver unicorn dangles from his nose chain as he goes about his daily rounds of break-ins, armed robberies, and murder.

"The Trouble with Unicorns" by Nancy Willard - A man has his beloved cat put down due to the infirmities of old age.While looking for another pet, he finds an ad for an enrocinul.

"Old One-Antler" by Michael Armstrong - A man takes his thirteen-year-old son on a hunting trip to teach him how to shoot.A bull caribou with a missing horn instructs the father on the true meaning of manhood.

"Taken He Cannot Be" by Will Shetterly - Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday go hunting a rustler and find him at creek-side, three sheets to the wind and reading aloud from the "Illiad."A unicorn accompanies the posse of two.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not that bad.
Some of the stories in here just mention the unicorn and that's it, but it's still a cool book. I gives you a new definiton of unicorn. When I think of a unicorn I see a horse whith cloven hooves, a lions tail and ahorn in the middle of it's forhead, but in this book you get to read aboutother types of unicorns too. For exsample: A caribou named "Old oneAntler", is a caribou that can heal the sick, live forever and make aperson immortal. Anyways, in closing I would like to say that this is agood book.

4-0 out of 5 stars They stole my title, but that's OK.
Right when I had decided to title a novel "Immortal Unicorn", I found this anthology.Oh well! There is a lack of unicorn stories in the world, so I always welcome something new in the genre.Some of thesestories are good and some aren't, as is to be expected.You can even tellthat some of these stories were made just for the anthology, which meansthey were forced.Despite this, I think anyone who loves the unicorn willlove the book, just because unicorns are so darn rare. ... Read more

12. Tamsin
by Peter S. Beagle
Paperback: 288 Pages (2004-06-17)
list price: US$8.99 -- used & new: US$2.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0142401544
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Arriving in the English countryside to live with her mother and new stepfather, Jenny has no interest in her surroundings&150until she meets Tamsin. Since her death over 300 years ago, Tamsin has haunted the lonely estate without rest, trapped by a hidden trauma she can't remember, and a powerful evil even the spirits of night cannot name. To help her, Jenny must delve deeper into the dark world than any human has in hundreds of years, and face danger that will change her life forever. . . .Amazon.com Review
Peter S. Beagle creates magic in this coming-of-age ghost story, returning to a subgenre he first explored in A Fine and Private Place. When her mother remarries, 13-year-old narrator Jenny Gluckstein moves from NewYork City to a run-down, haunted, 300-year-old farm in Dorset, England. Inslow-moving early chapters, unhappy Jenny's beloved Mister Cat isquarantined for six months and she must attend an English girl's school. Jenny's voice is painfully genuine, her self-description merciless.Ifearly adolescence brings on flashbacks, wait to read this book.

The pace picks up when Mister Catreturns and Jenny meets Meena Chari,whose belief in the supernatural comes from growing up in ghost-riddenIndia. First Mister Cat finds a new girlfriend, a ghostly Persian Cat onlyhe and Jenny can see.Then she andher younger stepbrother, Julian,confront a boggart who's been playing tricks on the family. The gnome-like boggart is dressed in a Seven Dwarves hat, Robin Hood garb, "and heavy little boots, ankle-high--I'd have taken them for Doc Martens, except I don't think they make them in boggart sizes."The boggart warns her to beware of the ghost cat, her mistress, and "the Other One" most of all.But one afternoon she follows Mister Cat to meet Tamsin Willoughby, ghost of the farm-founder's daughter.Tamsin is friendly, but won't tell Jenny anything about the Other One, or talk about Edric, apparently her lost love. To free Tamsin's ghost, Jenny must relive the tragic history of 17th-century Dorset and face grave danger.

Tamsin is vintage Beagle: there's a shape-shifting Pooka, a ghostly lovestory, music, the Goddess, and the Wild Hunt.It's beautifully written andcan be read on several levels, including as a loving homage to ThomasHardy's moody novels (Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Far from theMadding Crowd) and poetry (Selected Poems). Or you can loseyourself in the story. Fans of The Last Unicorn will enjoy thisone. --Nona Vero ... Read more

Customer Reviews (46)

5-0 out of 5 stars Nearly perfect--enchanting
Tamsin is a book that I re-read every couple of years.It is one of the best modern ghost novels I have read.The menace builds chapter by chapter.The book never talks down to young readers.I find the beginning a little slow, but it is meant to build the character of the narrator.That she is completely out of her depth when she is moved to the English countryside, but is a tough little New Yorker.It takes all her toughness to deal with the ancient Evil that dwells in this corner of Olde England.She also has the best cat character in all of literature.Not since Puss in Boots have we had a cat who is smart and brave and loving.

I know that the Last Unicorn is one of the GREATS, but frankly, it's too allegorical to keep my affection as strongly as Tamsin does.

This is Beagle writing about human characters in danger, and that's where he shines.Character and plot development.Menace and virtue.Love.Faith.And there is plenty of myth in Tamsin.

5-0 out of 5 stars Tamsin by Peter S Beagle
Peter S Beagle never disappoints, at one point you are in a hurry to see how it ends and another hoping the story never ends. I read it first and now my 12 year old son is reading it.
The story of a lonely resentful thirteen year old girl who moves to England when her mother re-marries. They move into an old farm house to harvest the land that has laid idle for many years. The creatures she meets, are they a product of her imagination or real? Her cat seems to think they are real.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Charming
I really enjoyed this book. I picked it up at a speaking engagement the author attended - where naturally all the focus was on the Last Unicorn. Since I already owned that book - I picked this up to be signed. The first few pages in - I wasnt sure I was going to like it - it was VERY different from Last Unicorn - for one thing we are dealing with a modern young girl who is bordering on being a delinquent. But it was well written and I thought it touched on the pain and and angst of being a young teenager very well - so I continued on with the book. As it progresses and Jenny moves to England - the tone of the book changes. It gradually shifts from a story about a tough urban girl to a story about a countryside riddled with ancient magical beings. This shift sounds extreme - but the author captures just the right tone in making it happen. Also the lead character very subtley matures as the book continues. Even her narrative voice matures. It happens so slowly, and it is so well done that you really end up loving the heroine by the end of this book. (And believe me , in the first few pages, I wasnt so sure I was crazy about her) On top of this the nature of the magic that Beagle weaves into the novel is extremely well done and has many charming little details. I also really liked the ending - positive but not too treacly sweet. I really liked this novel. The author himself indicated it was one of his favorites when he was doing the signing - and I can see why.

4-0 out of 5 stars I am looking at black dogs much closer nowadays
This is the first book I've ever read by Mr. Beagle, and I enjoyed it very much. What a delicious little story about love, loyalty, and really cool spooky things! I was expecting something more geared to the middle school crowd, but there is such layered imagery and meaning to the tale that adults will be enchanted as well. I would have given this book five stars, but the beginning was a bit slow and the ending felt deflated...or maybe I was just cranky that it had to end at all...

5-0 out of 5 stars Terrific coming of age book
Great book.Coming of age combined with ghostly images.Descriptions brought you right there. ... Read more

13. The Innkeeper's Song
by Peter S. Beagle
Paperback: 352 Pages (1994-10-01)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$16.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451454146
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Searching for his lover in a shadowy, magic world, young Tikat meets three mysterious cloaked women, whose quest involves saving their mentor, a once-powerful wizard, from losing his magic to a treacherous enemy. Reprint.Amazon.com Review
In this Locus Award-winning novel, young Tikat enters a shadowworld of magic and mystery as he searches for the lover whose deathand resurrection he witnessed.It's a wild ride that sets him on thetrail of three cloaked women who are on a mission of their own.

"A beautifully written tale of love and loss, set in a world ofhard-edged magic." --The New York Times Book Review

" A wonderfully astonishing novel... a tour de force." --Washington Post Book World ... Read more

Customer Reviews (35)

4-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful writing, as usual
After only a couple chapters of this book, I saw the same great writing I'd come to expect from Beagle and I told my wife, "I'm going to read this book to our son." But then came the sex scene a third of the way through the book that really didn't need to be there. Beagle uses it to reveal something about one character, but he really could have revealed it in another way entirely. The scene also seemed completely out of character and out of nowhere. There's another scene later in the book that is handled more tastefully and actually makes sense in the context of the plot. If not for that one scene, this would have been a five star book and among the best books I've ever read. As it is, I still believe Beagle is one of the most skilled writers I've read and the beauty of his language is as good as Gaiman and Rothfuss, if not better. I still might read it to my son, but if I do, I'll edit out a few scenes here and there.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beagle's Flagship Book
When ever I come upon a thought of Peter S. Beagle I will always think of this book foremost.

My first knowledge of Peter S. Beagle, unlike most, didn't come from his other book "The Last Unicorn". I first read him when I read the forward of "The Charwoman's Shadow" by Lord Dunsany. I read a witty and charming intro and started to wonder who this man, who had to be a "someone" to write a forward for one of fantasy writing's pioneers, was. So, I bought and read "The Innkeeper's Song" based on the reviews I read that talk of it as being mature, and it is just that.

I am not going to tell about the plot itself, so many reviewers have done a better job then I could, so I'm going to talk of it's other merits.

This is not a book where the world is hanging in the balance and that makes all the difference. It is a story that only effects the prime characters and few others. That makes it a quaint story so much more personal to the characters involved while itself telling a great deal about the characters as well. It also makes the characters seem more heroic, it is much easier to pick up a sword to defeat an evil force that is bent on world domination where the cost of failure is your death and the prize the world, but much harder to pick up a sword and risk your life to give aid to a friend when the prize is one or two lives.
In many books characters revolve around events, in this book events move about the characters. Why is that? It is more about the characters and their choices then the quest at hand.
The story is all told in first person narration through all the main, and some secondary characters. This gives a character development and knowledge of the characters' pasts that a reader rarely gets to experience. That said however, Beagle never tells you too much, he always leaves you hanging just enough to drive you through the story with a slight burning hunger in your belly to discover more. And with all of the first person narrations you get the true unbiased story that you get with the all knowing narrator's viewpoint.

You can tell Mr. Beagle was influenced by the likes of Lord Dunsany. Beagle has the same lyrical style and the same ability to paint a complete picture with a few well chosen words or phrases rather then a sprawling passage that takes up a page or two.
Peter S. Beagle is a master, plain and simple. He, unlike most modern authors, leaves magic unexplained, so it remains to the reader a mysterious and dangerous force. He tells you about the right things in the right places, while keeping you in the dark about the right things in the right places.

Even though this book is only about three hundred pages or so it is a story of fantasy as epic and more powerful then most other multi book series' that you will find. I will never forget the first time I picked up "The Innkeeper's Song" and started reading. With the depth of characters and events in this book you come away with a feeling that it is a living breathing world that is being bent around the characters. When after reading the book it seems to sit there on the shelf breathing, beckoning to you to pick it back up and discover new things about it in the rereading.

"The Innkeeper's Song" has a honored place on my book shelf and I plan to enjoy rereading this book till it falls apart in my hands,and when that happens I'll weep like a baby for the loss.

In the end if you are looking for a "world in the balance" fantasy that pushes the characters through the story this book is not for you, but if you are looking for a fantasy story about characters and their pasts on a quest that is deeply relevant to them, then this is a book for you.

5-0 out of 5 stars surprisingly adult
This book took me by surprise.I had recently read The Last Unicorn for the first time and wanted to read more from Beagle.I then purchased The Line Between that had a short story containing two characters from The Innkeeper's Song.It was the best short story in the book, so I went and bought Innkeeper.Well, what a delightful surprise Innkeeper is; it was an astonishing, wonderful, beautifully written piece of art.I actually liked it better than The Last Unicorn partly due to it being more of an adult adventure.It still has lots of the deep themes that you find in Unicorn such as death, immortality vs mortality, loss, etc.It seems like a larger world too in this novel even though it is not a series.I love Beagle's writing style...it's poetic.I think he has only gotten better.The wizard battles were intense and Beagle's writing style makes you feel the energy and chaos.The characters are also unforgettable.Quite a novel...if you like fantasy you will love this story.

5-0 out of 5 stars wonderful
This is an amazing, gorgeous, weird, upsetting story.It's even better than The Last Unicorn.It's not an easy read -- nothing Beagle writes is -- but the effort is worth it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Delightful
In terms of length, The Innkeeper's Song is one of the shorter fantasy novels I've read; it's not a series, not a huge book, but for its modest length, it manages to achieve the depth sorely lacking in many works twice its size. To appreciate the book, it's best if you don't go in wanting or expecting a lot of action and adventure. Yes, there is a wizard, a warrior-nun, a sailor slash swordsman, and even something of a 'quest', but at its core, The Innkeeper's Song is not about magic or quests or swords. It's about people. It's about loss and love and things that go unsaid. It's about interpersonal tragedy and people who deal with their own private tragedies in different ways, all interacting with one another in whatever manner life has conditioned them to.

The prologue begins with a boy and girl, Tikat and Lukassa, childhood loves who are soon to be wed. One day, Lukassa falls into the river, and though Tikat tries to save her, she slips from his arms and drowns. As he sits awake mourning for her that night, he hears singing and looks up to see a black woman on a horse who has revived Lukassa with an emerald ring. The two ride off together, and though Tikat calls to Lukassa, she does not answer. He pursues them; the prologue ends by stating that he never sees the village of his birth again.

But Tikat and Lukassa are only two characters in this fantasy drama. The black woman, Lal (Lal Alone, Lal After Dark, Swordcane Lal; what an amazing character), has her own story, her own past which is alluded to but never fully explained. Lal is on her way to search for her wizard friend, whose sendings reveal that he's in great peril. As she and Lukassa travel, they encounter a brown woman, Nyateneri, who has escaped from a convent, and who carries with her a fox (who is not, in fact, always a fox). All of these characters take turns narrating the story in first person, recounted years later to some unknown person or people, and along with them, there's also fat, gruff Karsh, innkeeper at The Gaff and Slasher (where most of the novel takes place) and Rosseth, the stable boy who dreams of adventure. In another writer's hands, such characters could easily be types, but Beagle's superb characterization renders each with a unique voice and a unique story to tell. No one comes close to being a shelf character. Even the most minor character seems to come with nuances, depth, life.

Additionally, I can't review this novel without mentioning Beagle's exceptional descriptive style. The prose is lyrical without being overwhelming (though I did occasionally have to take breaks after reading particularly intense chapters), and there's something about the way Beagle writes descriptions that really makes you feel them all throughout your body. When Lal speaks of how Lukassa's soul cried out with such intensity that it hurt her all over, even in the soles of her feet, I could practically feel it. Much is hinted at but never elaborated upon, which is maddening, but it also leaves me with a great desire to read more stories about these characters and their lives. Greatly recommended. ... Read more

14. Return
by Peter S. Beagle
Hardcover: 104 Pages (2010-09-30)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$22.62
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1596063092
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Every adventure has a beginning and every truly great adventure has an ending.

In 1993 Peter S. Beagle, author of the beloved classic, The Last Unicorn, took an old song lyric of his and spun it into the Locus Award-winning fantasy The Innkeeper's Song, an enchanting tale of three powerful women, each with a secret past, a stable boy, and an innkeeper who set in motion a series of events that bring them face to face with the forces of magic and the workings of fate.

Four years later Beagle took us back to their world in the World Fantasy Award nominated story collection, Giant Bones, and in the novella 'Lal and Soukyan' continued the adventures of two of his most-loved characters. In the decade that followed, Beagle touched on their world in powerful stories like 'Quarry,' 'Chandail,' 'Barrens Dance,' and 'What Tune the Enchantress Plays.'

Now, after a hiatus of six years, he comes back to the story of Soukyan (once known as Nyateneri) in Return. Return is a major new fantasy novella in which Soukyan turns to face the evil he has fled for most of his adult life, finally confronting the powerful forces that both made him and that have tried so tirelessly to destroy him. The end of the adventure is nearly here.... ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A captivating heroic and mythic fantasy
A bow and arrow-wielding mercenary confronts painful memories and an ancient evil in //Return//, a new Innkeeper's World story from the pen of mythopoeia, Hugo and Nebula Award winner and two-time World Fantasy Award best novel nominee Peter S. Beagle. Soukyan, the narrator, has long been hunted by unchangeable Hunter's triads, but the latest attack is different. Soukyan dons a disguise to return to that place he fled as a boy many years before. What he finds is the ancient secret of the Order of Brothers he was once invited to join.

Only through the help of the magic given to him by the "man who laughs" can Soukyan hope to overcome the indomitable Hunters and their half-mad masters. Beagle's story reads like an ancient legend due to its intimate first-person perspective, its ancient sounding grammar and vocabulary, and its intense sequences of battle and ancient magic. Coupled with a spectacular cover and interior illustrations by Chesley Award winner Maurizio Manzieri, this lush limited edition novella is entrancing and utterly compelling. Familiarity with //The Innkeeper's Song// is not required to enjoy this captivating heroic and mythic fantasy.

Reviewed by John Ottinger ... Read more

15. The Last Unicorn (SIGNED)
by Peter S. Beagle
 Mass Market Paperback: 248 Pages (1969)
-- used & new: US$37.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345254848
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Mass market paperback. "...A story of a quest, the search by the unicorn--immortal, infinitely beautiful--for her lost fellows. She is assisted in her mission by Schmendrick, the Magician, a kind of poor man's Merlin whose devotion to the exquisite creature he follows is exceed only by his mediocrity in magic. A third traveler, fiercely loyal Molly Grue, tries to bring some semblance of order and practicality into the lives of her two mad charges in this wonderfully imaginative and touching tale." ... Read more

16. A Dance for Emilia
by Peter S. Beagle
Hardcover: 87 Pages (2000-10-01)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$17.66
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451458001
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Even lifelong friendships can't outlast death...or can they?

Award-winning author Peter S. Beagle presents a deeply personal story of dreams abandoned and recovered, friends loved and lost, and the strength it takes to let go....

Praise for Peter S. Beagle's novels:

"Peter S. Beagle has both opulence of imagination and mastery of style."-New York Times

"Stunning...Fantasy rarely dances through the imagination in more radiant garb than this." -Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Peter S. Beagle illuminates with his own particular magic."-Ursula K. LeGuin

"Beagle is the class act of fantasy writing."-BooklistAmazon.com Review
Sam and Jacob have been best friends for over forty years. In high school they shared a dream of success in the arts--Sam as a dancer and Jacob as an actor. Sam had to give up his dream; Jacob found some success in theater. His muse led him to California, while Sam remained in New York. Despite the distance, they have only grown closer. They figure they'll be best friends in old age.

But Sam dies unexpectedly. His devastated friend travels back east for the funeral and meets Emilia, Sam's last and greatest love, who inherited Sam's Abyssinian cat, Millamant. United in grief, Jacob and Emilia begin exchanging mail, exchanging memories of Sam. The power of their grief draws Sam back to them--into Millamant's body.

It's a delicate subject. Fantasy, like SF, traditionally deals with subjects by literalizing metaphors; but if you believe this approach is inappropriate for loss, then A Dance for Emilia is probably not the book for you. However, Peter S. Beagle handles the subject as sensitively and skillfully as possible, writing with intelligence, compassion, and fine prose about grief, obsession, and the importance of letting go. --Cynthia Ward ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars A well-written charmer
Part fantasy, part study of male friendship, and part story of dreams fulfilled, this one's a well-written charmer.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beagle at his best
A splendid mix of reality, fantasy, and hope.This is a very quick read but is still a great story.This is not "another soppy book about a cat" rather, a study of friendship, love and death.This is not your typical fantasy, so those looking for a fanastical adventure may be disappointed with this book as it is not much like The Last Unicorn or Tamsin.

2-0 out of 5 stars Don't be looking for the magic...
I disliked this book even more than I disliked Tamsin, which was,
er, a lot.Beagle is a terrific writer insofar as imagination and verve, but this is his second soppy book about cats.Save your money.

pat chapin

4-0 out of 5 stars Sorry, it's not THAT good...
This is a cute, simple little book about two lifelong friends. One of them is an actor, the other is a dancer. The dancer dies and leaves behind his beloved cat and also a girlfriend, Emilia. Emilia comes to visit the actor and the cat. They come to believe the dancer's spirit is in the cat, which speaks to them. And dances, hence the "Dance for Emilia".It's a cute story, but it lacks drama, or the real magic which Peter S. Beagle is known for. Perhaps I'm missing something, but I thought it was just OK.And I'm sorry, I know I'm buying into stereotypes, but the two friends, the actor and dancer, struck me as being gay.The girlfriend didn't ring true.Mr. Beagle should have gone ahead and portrayed the friends in their true light, but perhaps if they were gay the book wouldn't sell as well. And of course it would have been a whole different book! (No cute little "adventures" between the dancer and Emilia. In fact, no Emilia.Emil, maybe?) The cover is beautiful, and it looks like a nice gift book to give someone who is grieving.

5-0 out of 5 stars A simple, warm story of grief and recovery
The loss of a mutual friend enables two very different individuals to join in shared grief - a process which brings the friend's spirit back to life in the form of his beloved cat. They discover they are holding his spirit captive on Earth - but how can they let it go? A simple, warm story of grief and recovery. ... Read more

17. Giant Bones
by Peter S. Beagle
Paperback: 288 Pages (1997-08-01)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$76.41
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451456513
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Nominated for the World Fantasy Award

Six breathtaking stories set in the bestselling world of The Inkeeper's Song.

The "best work yet" (Locus) from the award-winning author of The Last Unicorn

"Beagle is the class act of fantasy writing, the only contemporary to remind one of Tolkien, and, in his darker moments, Dineson...Beagle's fairy tales invoke comparison with yet another great name, the Brothers Grimm."--Booklist (starred review)

* Nominee, The Mythopoeic Awards
* Nominee, World Fantasy Award (Best Collection)
* Nominee, 1998 Best Books for the Teen Age
* Beagle is one of the most beloved, respected, and award-winning authors in fantasy today
* A selection of the Science Fiction Book Club
* Beagle is the bestselling author of The Innkeeper's Song, The Last Unicorn, and A Fine & Private Place ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Some Good Stories, Some Superb Stories
Peter Beagle has given us six stories set in the world of his novel The Innkeeper's Song.It's the same world, but not the same location, and, except for one story, not the same characters.Other reviewers have pointed out that the fact that there is a different teller for each story helps maintain interest from story to story, and I agree.I also agree (mostly) with the reviewer who states that the last three stories in the book are better than the first three.I found "Choushi-Wai's Story" to be as good a story as I've ever read, comparable in quality to P.G. Wodehouse's "Lord Emsworth and the Girl-Friend", Yasunari Kawabata's "The Dancing Girl of Izu", or the best of Hemingway's stories."Giant Bones", the title story, isn't far behind.

Beagle is that rare author who has given us both great novels and great stories, and readers have been blessed that he has done that for close to fifty years now.

5-0 out of 5 stars Heck Yeah
This order was very good, the product was very cheap and i got it in about a week after i ordered it. Fun stories that anyone could read. I suggest getting the other book by Peter Beagle to understand the terms in this book

5-0 out of 5 stars still lovely
Not quite as good as The Innkeeper's Song -- read that first, if you haven't yet -- but still a delightful return to that world.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very different
This is a very unusual book, but none the worse for that. It contains a collection of six short stories from the author of The Inkeeper's Song, which, insidentally, I haven't read but am very anxious to.
Four of the stories are written in the first person. Usually I don't like this style of writing, as I often think the narator loses character, but Peter S. Beagle does manage not only to provide engaging narrations that keep the reader interested, but he also brings across the narator's characters really well: from the corse but likable heroine of The Last Song Of Serid Biar, to the rough tenderness of a father telling a bedtime story to his son.
The Two stories written in the third person are my favourites, but again, I think that's because I prefer that style of writing. One of the stories actually features two of the characters from The Inkeeper's Song, which makes it even more maddening that it's not on audio.
All the stories were powerful, and sometimes beautifully written. I don't think Peter S. Beagle would approve of this, but I thought they had the feel of fairy-tales, all be it for adults. No disrespect intended.
The author himself narrates the book, as I believe he does all his works, and he does a credible job. I only hope he narrates The Inkeeper's song very soon, since no one else seems inclined to record it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Six Unique Voices - Six Lovely Stories
Set in the world of his previous book, "The Innkeeper's Song," Beagle presents six stand-alone fairy tales in this charming collection. All but one from first person perspective (Lal and Soukyan's last hurrah), Beagle continues to weave strange twists on old forms: the girl who would rather marry a thief, the powerful magician who had no love for power, two old mercenary partners who find a need for reconciliation, and - my favourite - the actors who are privy to a most unusual theatrical performance! As delightful and lyrical as these tales are, however, Beagle's world is bleak, leaving all his characters to live in a catch-as-catch can world. Beagle also feels no need to shrink from or tidy-up the language of his characters, as the first story eminently proves. While this excellent ear for the "voices" of the five story-tellers in this wonderful collection is more than appropriate but necessary to each story, young children who loved "The Last Unicorn" would be advised to wait a few years before delving into this enjoyable anthology. ... Read more

18. "The Magician of Karakosk
by Peter S. Beagle
Paperback: 280 Pages (1999-08-26)

Isbn: 0285635042
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19. The Unicorn Sonata
by Peter S. Beagle
Hardcover: 154 Pages (1996-10)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$1.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1570362882
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
A tomboy misfit and born musician, thirteen-year-old Josephine "Joey" Rivera encounters a mysterious young man named Indigo who changes her life, playing ghostly, haunting music that she follows down an ordinary street into the magical world of Shei'rah. 60,000 first printing. $50,000 ad/promo. Tour. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (20)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Unicorn Sonata
This book is very carefully bittersweet. Joey, short for Josephine, is disenchanted with modern life. She spends most of her time in a small California music shop owned by an old Greek man who gives her music lessons in exchange for her help around the store. One day she begins hearing strange, enchanting music, seemingly started by a mysterious boy named Indigo who plays an instrument unlike anything she has ever seen, and follows the melody until she stumbles into an entirely different world. Here she meets satyrs and tiny dragons and water-nymphs... and eventually, unicorns.

The plot in this book is somewhat subtle. You go into it thinking it will be a typical 80s/90s feel-good type of thing where a troubled young teenager has a great adventure, is bettered for it, and ends up loving the normal world just because s/he has grown up some over the course of the adventure. But eventually you see the book it is not about that at all, but more about Joey's keeping contact with it, her struggling desire to capture unicorn songs in the modern world, and unblinding the old unicorns. This book definitely has more to do with its world, the unicorns, and the simple obersvations of characters than it does with a plot. Luckily the story flows smoothly and this works out OK, if only because Peter S. Beagle is such an amazing author.

I did not like this book as much as I enjoyed The Last Unicorn, since I do typically get more swept up in dynamic storylines rather than subtle ones, but this book definitely kept my fancy well. It is also not quite as beautifully written as Peter S. Beagle's most well-known novel, but perhaps this one just speaks to me less on a personal level. I'm an unfortunate escapist, so I did instantly connect with Joey, but this story is just not as touching as The Last Unicorn.

Definitely a good novel and a book worth reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fall asleep and dream of this beautiful fantasy world
I am a huge fan of the last unicorn and I've been collecting unicorns since I was a little girl (When The Last Unicorn movie came out in 1982).Even though this book is at about an elementary/Jr. High reading level, I had to pick it up and read it.I was not disappointed.I was drawn into the beautiful fantasy world created by Mr. Beagle.After finishing the book I went to sleep that night and had a wonderful dream that I was in the world with the unicorns and other creatures.You have to read this book and drift into this wonderful world of childhood, if only for one good dream.

4-0 out of 5 stars A lovely book
This really is a beautiful book, and I believe if it had been published 20 years ago it would have been a huge seller in the fantasy market.I think the reason some of the other reviewers have not enjoyed the work as much is because this sort of fantasy kingdom has been portrayed before--Never Never Land, Middle Earth, Narnia--even the world of The Last Unicorn itself.Still, at the end, I found myself yearning for Beagle's mythical kingdom.And Abuelita is a wonderful character.A slower, older style, but worth finishing.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Unicorn Sonata
The Unicorn Sonata, written by Peter S. Beagle, is about a lack-luster 13 year old girl named Josephine Riveira who accidentally stumbles upon a magical land called Shei'rah. The story that unfolds is both riveting and beautiful. The Unicorn Sonata is a wonderful read, accessible to both children and adults and successfully brings back the sort of magical world that we seem to have forgotten in today's chaotic society.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Last Unicorn for elementary school readers!
I am huge fan of Beagle's "The Last Unicorn," and finally have decided to check out some of his other works. This is the first one I grabbed off the shelf because it is also about unicorns. I was a little disappointed because the plot is very slow and not that interesting, and the dialogue is not very deep or memorable. It lacks most of the lyrical qualities of "The Last Unicorn" in both plot and style. However, I don't think this a bad book!!! Its just different, that's all. I'm sure that Beagle had a different audience in mind. If I were 10 or 12 I would be raving about this book for sure! Call it a "Last Unicorn" for elementary school readers. "The Last Unicorn" is a difficult book after all, full of beautiful poetry, deep characters, and detailed descriptions. Perhaps this is a good stepping stone for younger readers to use... and eventually discover "The Last Unicorn!" ... Read more

20. The Fantasy Worlds of Peter S. Beagle
by Peter S. Beagle, Darrell K. Sweet
 Paperback: 430 Pages (1979-11-12)
list price: US$6.95 -- used & new: US$130.09
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345289676
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book.
I have the original 1978 version and read it back then.I love all the stories, especially Lila the W.Am still waiting for the movie (I think he wanted it to come out as a movie).What an imagination Beagle has and such a gifted writer.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beagle's best work of literature
This book is absolutely my favorite.In it, you find "The Last Unicorn", "A Fine and Private Place", "Come, Lady Death", and "Lila the Werewolf", all excellent.If you have seen the movie, "The Last Unicorn," READ the book!It is a thousand times better.It is more than just a children's book...it is a frightening and powerful novel."Come, Lady Death," is a fantastic view of death, and "A Fine and Private Place," is a shocking story of a man secluded from the world who finds delight in the dead."The Fantasy Worlds of Peter Beagle" combine Beagle's lively imagination and quick wit to produce a must read work of art. ... Read more

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