Tag Archives: magical realism

In Calabria | Peter S. Beagle

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.


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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.

Lyrical, gripping, and wise, In Calabria confirms Peter S. Beagle’s continuing legacy as one of fantasy’s most legendary authors.

REVIEW

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.

CONCLUSION

A lyrically engaging and beautifully quiet novel that brings whimsy to life, Beagle is indeed a master of magical realism.

RATING

quills


May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith quill-ink

Summerlong | Peter S. Beagle

Happy Wednesday friends,

Still behind on reviews, but we’ll get there!

Thank you to NetGalley and Tachyon Publications for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!


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30298463Retired history professor Abe Aronson is a cranky, solitary man living out his autumn years on Gardner Island, a ferry ride away from the hustle and bustle of nearby Seattle. One rainy February night, while dining at a favorite local haunt, Abe and his girlfriend Joanna meet an engaging enigmatic waitress, new in town and without a place of her own. Fascinated and moved by the girl’s plight, Joanna invites her to stay in Abe’s garage. It seems everyone falls for the charming and invigorating the waitress, but she is much more than she appears, and an ancient covenant made a millennium ago threatens to disrupt the spring and alter the lives of Abe, Joanna, and all those around them forever..

 

REVIEW:

Peter S. Beagle, renowned for The Last Unicorn, crafts a story reminiscent of Neil Gaiman, blending reality and whimsy into a stirring narrative about family and the bonds we form. Abe and Joanna are our protagonists, characters in the later years of their life, who have been together for a long time but are not married. Their mundane, every day lives are changed for the better when they meet Lioness, a beautiful young girl who seems to be on the run from something. Or someone.

The premise initially drew my interest and once the story was started, I was hooked. The plot is not one that develops at a quick pace, and in fact is slow going until the midpoint, which might be a turn off for some people. I enjoyed it well enough, loving the lyrical prose that Beagle wielded as he brings to light the truth of Lioness’s past and explores the way in which Abe and Joanna are called to reexamine their lives in the wake of this new presence.

One of the standout characters for me was Joanna’s daughter, Lily, who becomes smitten with Lioness to the point of utter devotion. She is an intriguing character and her relationship with her mother is one of the strengths of the novel. It’s unfortunate that there isn’t more focus on her. Overall, the characters slowly discover new truths about themselves and follow meaningful arcs that reach fulfilling, if not satisfying ends.

Lioness is of course the cornerstone of the story and the truth of her heritage is one that anyone with a grasp on mythology will quickly come to recognize. It’s frustrating that it takes Abe and Joanna as long as it does to discover it for themselves.

Though the slow pace might deter some people, there is something beautiful to be discovered in the subtext of this novel and its thematic resonance. At its heart, this is a story about relationships and explores how and why people form certain bonds.

CONCLUSION:

An enchanting tale that weaves the mystical into every day life and a thought provoking tale.

RATING:

quills


May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith quill-ink