In Calabria Peter S. Beagle
Genre: Fantasy, Magical realism
Published February 14th 2017 by Tachyon Publications
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From the acclaimed author of The Last Unicorn comes a new, exquisitely-told unicorn fable for the modern age.
Claudio Bianchi has lived alone for many years on a hillside in Southern Italy’s scenic Calabria. Set in his ways and suspicious of outsiders, Claudio has always resisted change, preferring farming and writing poetry. But one chilly morning, as though from a dream, an impossible visitor appears at the farm. When Claudio comes to her aid, an act of kindness throws his world into chaos. Suddenly he must stave off inquisitive onlookers, invasive media, and even more sinister influences.
| Not a lengthy read but a heavy read and one that requires you to pay attention.
A tale of love, loss and finding love where you least expect it. I suppose you’d anticipate something that held weight behind it because there was nothing light or airy about The Last Unicorn. I had forgotten how much of a storyteller Beagle is and how he becomes not only the narrator but the characters he writes. His style is unique to him and I find you either like it or you don’t. There’s not really an in between.
That being said, the story is difficult to follow, because of the way it is written. It isn’t easily devoured or sucked down like so many new fantasy novels that have cropped up. Claudio Bianchi is a hermit who lives on the hillside, after his child died and he was never the same, his wife left him. He took up a simplistic life and grew suspicious of all who trespassed.
One day a unicorn comes to his farm, decides to take up residence and even foul there, what comes after that is a lot of unexpected things.
During which, I was lost repeatedly, because of the way it is written, it is lyrical in a way Beagle can only be, it is told in a storytellers voice, so it’s hard to remain connected to the story when there is often tangents off on the side. I felt like I was on a breeze of words which was wonderful and not.
Some of my favorite lines from the book:
“One should never try to remake what is gone.”
“And that is why men hunt unicorns, and why they will always kill them when they capture them. Not the beauty, not the magic of the horn . . . because of what lives and waits in the eyes.”
If you’re a fan of Beagle, you will surely enjoy it.
Who is your favorite fantasy author?