Friday, August 07, 2009

Peter Beagle

*The Katherine Kerr article will be posted the next time.

“The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone. She was very old, though she did not know it, and she was no longer the careless color of sea foam but rather the color of snow falling on a moonlit night. But her eyes were still clear and unwearied, and she still moved like a shadow on the sea.” (from The Last Unicorn) Thus opens one of the many novels of Fantasy author Peter Beagle. He is a classic author that has been quietly contributing many descriptive, powerful works to the genre for many years. Every one of his books are different, but gives readers memorable characters and stories that stay with you for a long time. He writes in an easy style that conveys many ideas in few words. His books and stories span a vast range of Fantasy worlds in the genre.

The Last Unicorn is a lyrical tale of a unicorn. All the unicorns in the world disappear, leaving one ©female behind. She goes on a quest to find them. Along the way she meets some companions who help her. Schmendrick is a magician. He is not very good with magic and when it works, does not work in the way he intends. Molly Grue is a practical woman with common sense, but believes in legends. Together, they confront King Haggard and his Red Bull. This is a classic book with strong themes and is told in a descriptive prose.

Another book of Mr. Beagle’s has ghosts and ravens in it. A Fine and Private Place is a story of love beyond death. Michael Morgan is a ghost trapped in a cemetary. He fights to maintain his identiy because ghosts forget with time. He meets Laura, they fall in love and struggle to maintain it throughout the book. Mr. Beagle wrote this book at nineteen years of age. It is a moving story of love with a touch of humor. The characters are unforgettable.

A more recent book that demonstrates the author's growth over the years is The Innkeeper's Song. It takes place in a stark Fantasy world where Tikat sees his lover Lukassa die. She is resurected and stolen by a mysterious woman. Tikat goes on a quest to find her. His fate becomes tied up with three cloaked women. The chapters alternate with a different viewpoint character. There is a clever fox too. This book is full of arresting images and interesting characters. It is a memorable story.

Tamsin is a ghost story and coming-of-age tale. Thirteen year old Jenny grows up in New York, but finds herself moved to the English countryside when her mother remarries. Jenny finds herself drawn into a tragic ghost story when she meets Tamsin. She tr êies to help Tamsin and gets involved with ghosts, boggarts, pookas and the Wild Hunt. It is a beautifully written tale with a lot of magic and adventure. Mr. Beagle uses many of the tropes of Fantasy to give readers an enjoyable story with powerful themes.

Mr. Beagle delves into Contemporary Fantasy with his book The Unicorn Sonata. Joey Rivera helps out in a music store in Los Angeles. One day a strange boy named Indigo comes into the shop. He plays haunting music on a strange horn. The music stays with Joey and eventually leads her over the fairy border into the world of Shei'rah. Joey and her grandmother help the Elders or un êicorns against a mysterious blindess affecting the unicorns. This is a good story for young adults. Mature readers can enjoy this story of music and healing too. It is another entertaining book with a wonderful setting and is illustrated.

These are just a few of the many books of this talented author. Peter Beagle writes entertaining, powerful Fantasy books for all ages. He has a vivid imagination coupled with a subtle storytelling style. His books contain memorable characters that explore such themes as love, death, music and many others. Readers will not be disappointed with this author's works. There is enjoyment to be had in any of his books. Many of his books in recent years have been collections of short stories. They are worth checking out.

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