5.20.2010

book crush thursday: The Last Unicorn

Hard silver clouds were melting as the sky grew warm; shadows dulled, sounds lost their shape, and shapes had not yet decided what they were going to be that day. Even the wind wondered about itself. -- The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle

Now he was helpless with delight, for he wanted to dance and he wanted to be still; he shook with shouting and speeches, and yet there was nothing that he wanted to say. -- Schmendrick the Magician

As a hero, he understood weeping women and knew how to make them stop crying--generally you killed something. -- Prince Lir

The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle: One of my favorite, favorite books. (I know, that's the whole point of Book Crush, right? But I still can't get over it ... I love this book!)

It's certainly one to get lost in, to indulge in, to read in one long luxurious day in bed.

That kind of book.


Confession: I only read this one to get it off my list. It was recommended to me years ago, but I cheerfully passed it up time and again for lesser books. Shame on me.

Confession #2: One great way to keep me from reading a book? Put unicorn in the title. Not a huge sell for me. And as long as we're confessing, the same goes for dragons and vampires.

Just ... can't ... manage ... to get excited. I could be so wrong (as I was with The Last Unicorn), but nevertheless: I'm an avoider.

So imagine my shock when I did finally read this book and realized it was my long lost love, my newest favorite, the one I would rave about to anyone within earshot?

It would make a stint on a desert island significantly better, perhaps even enjoyable.

And this too: I want to write a book like this when I grow up.

It's always hard for me to describe the plot, since this book seems so much larger than just plot, characters, and settings. But essentially, it is the story about a quest. The last unicorn travels to find the others of her kind. Along the way, she picks up two unusual human companions, and together they work to set the other unicorns free...

Mmm, but I'm not satisfied with that as a description. Let me try again:

Peter S. Beagle knows how to blend the humorous, the poignant, and the unexpected. And he writes sentences that literally take my breath away.

Or, to put it another way: This is the kind of book that reminds me why I read and why I write.

Recommendation: Order yourself a series of rainy days and a café au lait to best savor this book. A sweet pastry on the side wouldn't hurt.

3 comments:

  1. Rachel Aubrey, formerly Miss BoryczMay 20, 2010 at 3:44 PM

    If we're going to confess, I must also admit that I too am an avoider of such titles. Titles that include: unicorns, vampires, dragons, ...and zombies...
    I too confess that I have been told repeatedly to read this book and have not because the title drew me away. The same goes for Madeleine L'Engle's The Young Unicorns. Now, I am a firm devotee of L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time and the books that follow as well as her Crosswick Journals (read: adore!, rest and intrigue and pure contemplative delight ensue), but I just haven't read The Young Unicorns. Why? Because I'm an avoider.
    Thanks for the confession. I appreciate the honesty. Thanks for reading The Last Unicorn first so that now I know I can read it - with safety and reassurance. There aren't any zombies in it are there? Or malls? Zombies in malls are the worst...2 subjects I cannot abide.

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  2. Absolutely no zombies, absolutely no malls. There *is* a talking skull, but--well, I found it hilarious. And it had good things to say, which a talking skull ought to have, if it possibly can... :)

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  3. I read this book long before I could fully understand it. I admit I was sucked in by the unicorn on the cover. Even then I knew it was magical & you've convinced me that I need to read it again (yes, I still have it). :)

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