Happy Monday friends,
Hope you’re having a lovely start to the week so far. Here’s a new review to start off mine.
Thank you to NetGalley and Tachyon Publications for offering me this ARC in exchange of an honest review.
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.
Lyrical, gripping, and wise, In Calabria confirms Peter S. Beagle’s continuing legacy as one of fantasy’s most legendary authors.
Earlier this year, I had the joy of reading Summerlong. It was the first novel I read by Peter S. Beagle and I was determined to not make it my last. It was a most wonderful decision!
“He simply took pleasure in putting words in order, exactly as he laid out seedlings in the spring, and tasting them afterwards, as he tasted fresh new scallion or ripe tomatoes…”
In Calabria was even stronger than Summerlong, introducing genuine characters and an even more whimsical and heartfelt tale.
It is a simple story about Claudio Bianchi, an elderly man who lives an isolated life with his animals and poetry until the day he is visited upon by a unicorn. She comes to him, looking for his help, and he is there to give it. In return, he is inspired in poetry and love as his quiet life faces a complete upheaval.
The greatest strength of his novel is in the lyrical prose that Beagle deftly wields to draw a reader into the Italian countryside. He crafts such brilliantly vivid images and uses language that provokes emotions and thoughts. It is equal to the one used in Summerlong, if not even more impressive.
“The unicorn met his eyes fully once more, and then vanished so swiftly that Bianchi would have, with time and determination, remembered it as a play of shadow and starlight, but for the single distant chime of a hoof on stone.”
This story also excels in its poignant themes. Through the obsession of society over rumours of the legendary, Beagle explores human fascination with the whimsical and their need to contain it, which is then contrasted by Bianchi’s desire to protect and preserve the magical.
“From that point he began calling the unicorn La Signora, though only in his mind, and in the poems. It seemed more respectful.”
It is a beautiful story that is presented within these pages, with characters that command your attention and sympathy and a climax that resonates with true magic.
A lyrically engaging and beautifully quiet novel that brings whimsy to life, Beagle is indeed a master of magical realism.
May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,