In Calabria

In Calabria

Book - 2017 | First edition.
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"Beagle's unicorns have never been more bewitching, impossible, and genuine. I cherished every page."
--Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked and After Alice


From the acclaimed author of The Last Unicorn comes a new, exquisitely-told 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.
Publisher: San Francisco : Tachyon, 2017.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781616962487
1616962488
Branch Call Number: BEA
Characteristics: 174 pages ;,22 cm

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FindingJane Jun 26, 2017

Mr. Beagle has given us yet another sublime tale about what happens when the mythical impacts with the mundane. A simple farmer is bewildered, enraptured and flabbergasted by the appearance of a unicorn on his scrubby little farm. What is she doing here, where there is nothing but a humble hovel, planted vegetables, cows and one ornery goat?

But more than the hornéd beast, we are privy to the sleepy living that is southern Italy, specifically Calabria, located in the toe of the boot. The neighbors, friends, gossipy old people and local muscle lend their vibrant color to this cloistered world that “is too far uphill for the American suntanners and too low for the German skiers”. Signor Bianchi lives a life of rugged solitude where he must tend to the grapes, cows, cats and goat. His is not a carefree life but it is simple and peaceful—until the unicorn shows up.

Mr. Beagle shows how the unicorn impacts Bianchi’s life in expected and unexpected ways. His is a 19th-century existence and he is blindsided when the 21st century intrudes on his solitude. There are moments of wry humor, such as when he puts on a blank-faced peasant ignorance for the foolish news crews that show up on rumors that there is a one-horned horse lurking on the premises. There are moments of startled vision, such as when a young girl falls deeply and madly in love with this curmudgeon who has long buried his loneliness until he doesn’t realize he has it.

The unicorn itself is a mystery, a cipher, serenely indifferent to Bianchi as she goes about her business. She is above and beyond mere humanity, unafraid of ordinary mortals, able to vanish from them with the swiftness of a popped soap bubble. Yet she charges the very air so that Bianchi knows she is there even when he can’t see her. She moves him to poetry and she inspires him to love. She possesses the kind of genius that Oscar Wilde wrote about in “The Picture of Dorian Gray”. There need be no explanation for her; she simply IS.

When danger is brought to his life, his home, the woman he loves and the legendary creature herself, the reader is subjected to a violent and spectacular denouement that defies description. The evil men learn what Signor Bianchi knew from the very first: you tangle with the divine at your own peril.

This simple tale smartly weaves the fabled with the commonplace, leading you to believe that any place might be chosen by a unicorn if it and you are found worthy.

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