Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Rereading The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

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.

The Last Unicorn is an interesting fantasy novel. It is, of course, the story of the last unicorn. One day, she leaves her forest and sets out to discover what happened to all the other unicorns. Along with the way, the unicorn meets with many people, Schmendrick the magician (who doesn't have that much magic) and Molly Grue. I'm not sure when I last read this fantasy, but it was a while ago.

This is a surreal little concoction. The whole story seems dreamlike, unreal. It flows along at a slow but steady pace. Even the characters themselves say that they're in the midst of a fairy tale, which of course, they are. The unicorn lives forever, she's always present, and her eyes]...well, they enchant everyone who looks into them. Schmendrick and Molly are just two ordinary people brought along on an amazing adventure, full of witches, and curses, and doomed castles by the sea. But through it all is the question: what happened to the other unicorns?

Peter S. Beagle's writing is yes, dreamlike, and also really descriptive. The first paragraph shows this very well, with analogies and rich imagery. I can imagine the unicorn, no longer careless, like sea foam, but more contemplative like snow falling on a moonlit night.

The plot is superbly imagined, and the book flows very nicely. I had forgotten much of what happened, so it was almost like I was reading it afresh. The Last Unicorn is a fantasy classic in its own right, very different from more recent fantasy publications. There are many different editions, each with a beautiful cover. I have the "special anniversary edition".

Read The Last Unicorn:
  • if you like fantasy
  • if you like books with amazing description
  • if you like books with unicorns
  • if you like Peter S. Beagle (Tamsin, anyone?)
212 pages.
Very Good! I would recommend this book!

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. I have never read about someone describing a book as dreamlike. I don't know about this one. I'm not the type of girl who grew up dreaming of riding unicorns to another place or anything like that but I'm glad you enjoyed it a second time around. There are a lot of times where that doesn't work out.