IN CALABRIA

PrintE-mail Written by Ian White

Claudio Bianchi is a reclusive farmer who lives contentedly with his animals on an Italian hillside. His life is quiet and uneventful and he likes it that way, and he passes his time writing poetry he will never show to anybody. But then the unicorn arrives, and Claudio’s peaceful solitary existence is rapidly turned upside down. For some reason, the unicorn has chosen Claudio’s farm as the place where she will give birth to her foal, and try as he might Claudio is unable to prevent this news from reaching the village and beyond. When the world’s press descends, Claudio manages to keep the animals hidden. But when a mobster appears and makes Claudio an offer he literally cannot refuse, events take a nasty, extremely violent turn…

In Calabria is a simple story and a very quick read – barely 160 pages long – but Peter S. Beagle condenses more beauty, imagination, poetry and magic into this wonderful novella than most authors can pack into novels that are five or six times the length. His most famous work, The Last Unicorn, was first published in 1968 and Beagle has been an icon of fantasy storytelling ever since. It’s truly a delight to see him return to the subject of unicorns again, although In Calabria is far less about unicorns than it is about the marvellous two-legged characters that inhabit its pages. The stripped down simplicity of Beagle’s prose, the uncluttered authenticity of his dialogue, and the keen emotional intelligence that shines behind his words makes this – as with all his stories – an absolute joy to read. Beagle has that rare gift – the ability, within just a few words, to transport the reader completely into his universe, making the unfamiliar become vividly real. More than that, his skill at portraying genuine romantic love, the kind of honest and complicated love that transforms us as human beings and aches so hard it makes your heartbreak, is unsurpassed – and it forms the basis of an important subplot in In Calabria that we deliberately didn’t mention it in the synopsis because it’s best that you discover it for yourself. Read this book, and be prepared to see the world through completely new eyes.

IN CALABRIA / AUTHOR: PETER S. BEAGLE / PUBLISHER: TACHYON PUBLICATIONS / RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 14TH

 


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