Питър С. Бийгъл

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Питър С. Бийгъл

Postby Кал » Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:54 am

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Re: Питър С. Бийгъл

Postby Кал » Fri Dec 06, 2013 2:14 am

I must share this ...

Peter S. Beagle wrote:I didn't know what to say to Lula Coe, sitting next to her at a special showing of The Last Unicorn — her favorite story for all her short life — just as I didn't know what to say that evening, having dinner at her house with her parents and family friends. And I certainly don't know what to say now, when she appears in my dreams, as she has been doing since I returned from Boise.

What can one possibly say to a ten-year-old girl who has been undergoing radiation, chemotherapy and major surgery since she was eight, and who knows — knows — that she is not going to see eleven? What can one say to family members who know they will be lucky to have Lula with them this Christmastime? I wanted to speak during the screening, whenever she turned her head to look at me and smile, and I'm sure I said something, but all I can remember now is praying, over and over inside the echoing space that was my head, to simply not be stupid. I did keep my arm around her shoulders in the theater, until she grew tired and curled up against her father, eventually dozing off with her head in his lap. My three children used to do that when they were small.

I have been a writer all my life: a storyteller, dependent for my purpose, as well as my living, on my imagination and my powers of observation. But I cannot even pretend to imagine how I could have lived with such knowledge as Lila Coe's family wake up to every morning. I have tried, and I cannot — as people say now — go there.

In the evening, after the film and our time at Rediscovered Books, there was pizza and talk, and people telling me what a wonderful thing it was for us to have driven nine hours from Eugene, Oregon, to arrange a showing of this movie for that child whom we hadn't even known existed a few days earlier. I felt as embarrassed in those moments as though I had indeed said something idiotic and benignly cruel. How could anyone conceive of there being any choice in such a situation? I was tired, certainly — tired of the miles and of being cold, of napping in the van and grabbing bad food at convenience stores — and if there had been any possible excuse, a way off the hook, that would have enabled all of us to live with ourselves for the rest of our own lives, I'm sure I could have come up with one. I'm good at that. But there never was a choice. Not for a moment, not for me or Connor or Terri. Some calls can't go unanswered. A certain prince I wrote knew that, so I know it too.

What I remember best from the evening is watching Lula with her friends. They were playing a game on the floor — something with cards, or a board, I think — dashing up to the table now and then to grab a slice of pizza before dashing back to their game. Lula laughed and smiled readily with them, and except for her being somewhat smaller and paler, you couldn't have told her from any of the other children, if not for the oxygen tube that trailed her everywhere like a sort of sinister jump-rope. My father was on a tube like that during the last months of his life. He hated it, hated being obliged to it, and kept brushing it away like an annoying housefly, and I'd come running to catch it and put it back in his nose whenever I noticed it dangling loose. I was convinced that he'd be dead in minutes without it.

Lula's oxygen tube is always present — even dominant at times — in my dreams of her. I don't dream often, or at least I don't often recall my dreams, and when I do rarely recognize anyone: an ex-wife once in a while, and on occasion a dear friend who died too young twenty years ago. But I have been dreaming Lula constantly since we came home from Boise. She doesn't always appear to me whole, but in flashes and glimmers, floating in and out of dreams of someone or something else. Sometimes it's only the oxygen tube, bloated and swollen to fill all my vision, but I always know it is Lula's.

This hasn't ever happened to me before.

Lula doesn't speak in the dreams, and if she is trying to tell me anything, I'm not wise enough to understand. But she does smile, and at times she hugs me, just as she did twice in Boise before I left, more strongly than you might imagine. One time she did it after showing me a unicorn drawing; another time was when she shared a marvelous unicorn she actually gave me: done on colored paper, carefully cut apart at the joints, then reassembled so that the legs and tail and head move. My mother made me something exactly like that when I was a child, at my commission, except that it was a puma, a mountain lion. As rare as unicorns they were back then, at least in the Bronx, and I wanted to have one of my own before they were completely gone. Now I have a unicorn — Lula's unicorn, and someday I hope to see a story in it that I can share with all the rest of you, the way Lula so openly shared her spirit with me.

I won't ever see her again. I know that, as I didn't know it when I took my last leave of other people with whom I unthinkingly expected to walk the rest of my way in this world. But I do believe that she will go on in my dreams, as few have, and that one day I may even find out whether she is telling me goodbye, or actually hello.


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Re: Питър С. Бийгъл

Postby Кал » Wed Apr 09, 2014 10:43 am

Прясно от пощата ми – кампания за финансиране на късометражен филм по разказ на Питър – до 11 април:

"The Bridge Partner" is a uniquely different Peter S. Beagle story — a psychological suspense thriller created when Neil Gaiman invited Peter to step outside the fantasy arena and write something "really special" for an anthology Neil was editing. Peter took up the challenge but missed the deadline, so "The Bridge Partner" wound up seeing first publication in Peter's 2011 collection Sleight of Hand.

Happy circumstance #1: Out of thousands of candidate stories, "The Bridge Partner" was picked to appear in the prestigious Best American Mysteries 2012 anthology, published by Harper Collins.

Happy circumstance #2: Last year Gabriel Olsen and Sean Barney, two LA-based filmmakers with a string of cool commercials to their credit, decided to make a short film which they hoped they could subsequently turn into a feature. Looking for a powerful story to adapt, Gabriel and Sean — neither of whom was familiar with Peter's work — picked up Best American Mysteries 2012 and fell madly in love with "The Bridge Partner." It was dark and challenging and disturbing and featured two incredibly strong female characters...exactly what they wanted to do.

Last month, with Peter's blessing and all their prep work behind them (plus lots of their own money invested in the project), they turned to Kickstarter to try and raise the rest of their bare-minimum shooting budget.

Happy circumstance #3: The project funded in 12 days!

But here's the thing. That was their bare minimum budget. Sean and Gabriel would really like to take this project a lot farther, and make it even more incredible.

Which is where all of Peter's fans come in.

The Bridge Partner Kickstarter closes in just three days: Friday 4/11, at 6 PM Pacific Time. Right now there are 261 backers, and $25,248 pledged. But Gabriel and Sean are still short of their stretch goal of $28,000. That extra cash would allow them to add an additional shoot day. And if even more money can be raised...well, if that happens then the final film will be even more spectacular.

Bizarrely enough, despite having written many screenplays and having lots of options on his books and stories over the year, only ONE of Peter's original tales has ever made it to the screen: The Last Unicorn. When "The Bridge Partner" is filmed there will finally be a #2.(!)

Peter obviously wants this short film to be as great as possible. And he wants this Kickstarter to shine, because success here will help bust down Hollywood's doors and get even more of his stories and books turned into films at last.

So! PLEASE GO TO THE BRIDGE PARTNER KICKSTARTER AS SOON AS YOU CAN. It's as easy as clicking on the previous sentence. Watch the videos. Look at the storyboards posted there. Read Gabriel's and Sean's plans for their production. Check out the cool pledge gifts that are being offered. And if you love what you see, or just love Peter S. Beagle's work and want to see more great things come of it, then pledge something — even if the stretch goal has already been reached.

Here's the math: If everyone getting this newsletter pledged the minimum allowable $1, then "The Bridge Partner" would blow through the stretch goal and nearly double its original planned budget. And if you all donated just $5 each, the final shooting budget would wind up being more than $100,000...and believe it, that kind of last-minute financial surge would wake up executives at every Hollywood studio, because they watch what's happening on Kickstarter like hawks. A boost like that, all by itself, could make them start jumping on the Peter S. Beagle bandwagon.

So please go, look, enjoy, help if you can, and definitely spread the word. We've only got a little time left to raise a ruckus on Peter's behalf.
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Re: Питър С. Бийгъл

Postby Кал » Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:46 pm

On 8 Jan 2016, the Raven Newsletter wrote:HUGE 13-VOLUME PETER S. BEAGLE EBOOK PREMIERE, EXCLUSIVELY ON AMAZON RIGHT NOW (including FOUR brand-new titles)

A Fine and Private Place (classic novel)
Four Years, Five Seasons (new collection)
I See By My Outfit (nonfiction classic with new illustrations)
The Last Unicorn (classic novel)
The Last Unicorn (deluxe edition, with “Two Hearts”)
Lila the Werewolf and Other Tales (new collection)
The Line Between (collection)
The Magician of Karakosk: Tales from the Innkeeper's World (collection)
Mirror Kingdoms: The Best of Peter S. Beagle (collection)
Sleight of Hand (collection)
Sméagol, Déagol, and Beagle: Essays from the Headwaters of My Voice (new nonfiction)
These Are They (new nonfiction)
We Never Talk About My Brother (collection)

Кал wrote:Dear friends at Conlan Press (:

The 13 new ebooks of Peter's are probably the best New Year's gift I
could have wished for. Thank you with all my heart! :)

However, there's a snag. :( I do not want to buy them from Amazon.

For one thing, I don't have a Kindle reader; the ideal format for my
own reader is EPUB. (This is solvable: I can convert MOBI to EPUB.)

For another, I do not find Amazon's general policies ethically
acceptable. I won't go into detail here; let's just say this is not
solvable, at least for the time being, so I prefer to give my money to
other retailers. (Or to the authors and publishers themselves.)

Have you considered selling the ebooks directly from
http://conlanpress.com/ebooks/ ? I am willing to wait *says he, his
hands trembling with anticipation*.

Or barring that, perhaps use a second retailer besides Amazon, such as

At the end of my query, I'd like to share some of our own beauty with
you. It's in the language of images, so you won't have trouble
appreciating it. ;)


To an inspired, productive, creative 2016!

Bulgarian translator of _The Last Unicorn_ and editor of _The Innkeeper's Song_

След известен брой подръчквания:

On 10 Feb 2016, Connor Cochran wrote:Hi, Kal:

Sorry about the slow response. Things have been very busy here.

Unfortunately, the Amazon deal is a one-year exclusive. That was the deal we made with them. So until November 2016 Amazon is the only cource. There is a small chance that will change and we will offer them earlier than that in multiple formats directly from Conlan Press, but there's no guarantee that will happen.

All best,


Кал wrote:Thank you!

In that case, I'd rather wait, even if it takes a year. But you DO
intend to offer them on Conlan Press, right?


Connor wrote:When the exclusive ends we will definitely sell through Conlan Press as well as through other outlets. And the latest that would be will be this November. There is a chance it could happen sooner.

... Гответе се. :)
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Re: Питър С. Бийгъл

Postby Кал » Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:18 am

... или не се гответе. :/

Питър Бийгъл има нужда от подкрепата ни

Към Приятелите на ЧоБи Кал wrote:... под формата на финансова помощ в съдебния процес, който тече срещу
бившия му агент:


Каня ви да му подадем ръка заедно.
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Re: Питър С. Бийгъл

Postby Кал » Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:55 am

Отзив в Goodreads за The Magician of Karakosk (aka Giant Bones):

Where does Beagle hold so many voices? And so many human touches, of love and sorrow, and everything else that does matter?

Ponder these questions as you read these stories. And let me know if you discover any answers.

Here's what I pondered the longest:

~ Aha! The wizard himself finally reveals his inspirations:

As many writers as I’ve worshipped and shamelessly imitated in my time, from Thorne Smith to T. H. White to Lord Dunsany, James Stephens to James Thurber to James Branch Cabell, Jessamyn West to my wife, Padma Hejmadi, it honestly never occurred to me to ape Tolkien.

I knew about Thurber and suspected Dunsany and White, but now I'll look into the others too. In fact, I'd never even heard of James Stephens and Jessamyn West.

~ The voices in these stories are not only as natural and intimate as those in The Innkeeper's Song; they also belong to worthy people:

I’ll always wonder about her, the chandler’s wife. Her husband had a warehouse down near the river, and she used to let us sleep in it as long as we were careful to leave no least sign that we’d ever been there. She was a plain woman—dark, small, a bit plump, that’s all I remember. Nice voice. And what there was between her and Sirit Byar I never knew, except that I got up to piss the one night and heard them outside. Talking they were, fool—talking they were, too softly for me to make out a word, sitting by the water, not even touching, with the moon’s reflection flowing over their faces and the moon in Sirit Byar’s white hair. And I pissed behind the warehouse, and I went back to sleep, and that’s all.

~ This scene makes me laugh and cry, often at the same time:

He said, “Our real journey is yet to come,” and was asleep.
Now whether it was the words or the way he said them that took hold of me, I couldn’t tell you, but it was nightmare on nightmare after that—every time the damn rishu snuffled in her sleep, another monster turned up in mine. The last one must have been a pure beauty, because I woke up on Sirit Byar’s chest, holding him tighter than ever I had the salt-meat boy. That wild, deep-woods smell of his was the most comforting thing in the wide world just then.
Well, there’s comfort and comfort. I’ll get this part over with quickly—no need to embarrass us both for twelve coppers. He held me for a while, petting my hair as though it might turn in his hand and bite him any minute. Then he started to put me by, gently as he could, but I wouldn’t let him. I was saying, “It’s dark, it’s dark, you won’t even see me, just this one time. Please.” Like that.
Poor Sirit Byar, hey? The poor man, trying to get this whimpering hulk off him without hurting her brutish feelings. Ah, that one you can imagine, I can see it in your little pink eyes. Yes, well, I pushed him back down every time he sat up, and when he said, “Big girl, don’t, no, you’re too young,” I kept on kissing him, saying, “I don’t care, I won’t tell anybody, please, I won’t ever tell.” Ah, poor, poor Sirit Byar.
He did the only thing he could do. He shoved me away, hard—big as he was, I was the stronger, but it’s amazing what you can do when you’re desperate, isn’t it?—and jumped to his feet, panting as though we really had been doing it. For a moment he couldn’t speak. He was backed into a far corner of the stall; he’d have to bolt past me to get out. I wasn’t crying or laughing, or coming at him or anything, just standing there.
“Mircha,” he said, and that was the only time but one he ever called me by my name. “Mircha, I can’t. There’s a lady.”
A lady, mind you. Not a plain woman, a lady. “The bloody hell there is,” I said. I don’t think I screamed it, but who remembers? “Four years, almost, never out of each other’s sight for ten minutes together, what bloody lady?”
“A long time,” Sirit Byar said very softly. “A long, long time, big girl.” The words were coming out of him one by one, two by two. He said, “I’ve not seen her since before you were born.”
Never mind what I said to him then. If there’s little enough in my life that warms me to remember, there’s less that truly shames me, except for what I said to Sirit Byar in the next few moments. Just set it down that I asked him what he thought his great love was doing while he was wandering the land being forever faithful to her. Just set that much down—so—and let it alone.
Sirit Byar bore it all, big hands hanging open at his sides, and waited for me to run out of words and wind. Then he said, sounding very tired, “Her name is Jailly Doura. She is mad.”
I sat down in the straw. Sirit Byar said, “Jailly Doura. There was a child. Her family married her to a man who took the child gladly, but it died.” He swung his head left and right, the way he did sometimes, like an animal that can’t find its old way out of a place. “It died,” he said, “our child. She has been mad ever since, fifteen years it is. Jailly Doura.”
Two ls in the name, are you getting it? I said, “Credevek. That place where the rich people live. We always walk wide of Credevek—you won’t pass the city gates, let alone sing there.”
“Once,” Sirit Byar whispered. Slumped against the wall, gray as our old stone Azdak under the road-brown weathering, he looked like no one I’d ever seen. He said, “I sang once for her in Credevek.”
“Once in fifteen years,” I said. “We do better than that in Davlo. Well, maybe faithfulness is easier if you don’t have to see the person. I wouldn’t know.” There was a calmness on me, just as new and strange as all those tears I’d shed over the salt-meat boy. I felt very old. I patted the straw beside me and said, “Come and sit. I won’t attack you, I promise. Come on, then.”
Fourteen, and ordering Sirit Byar about like a plow horse. But he came, and we sat close against each other, because the night had turned wickedly cold. Sirit Byar even laid his arm across my shoulders, and it was all right. Whatever happened, whatever it was took me for a little time, it never happened again. Not with him, not with anybody.

~ There's so much drama--pure theatrics--in "The Tragical Historie of the Jiril's Players" that I couldn't stop laughing. See for yourselves:

The Jiril turned abruptly and snapped at Firial, “Girl, is there nothing in the world you can do but that bloody ’broidering? Your brothers have all four just sought to overthrow me, and are under hatches for it, and you sit there with your eyes on those idiot beads, not a word, not even so much as looking up when Torleg says we’re being sent into exile. Are you weak in the head besides being plain as two sticks?” There was more, but let it be. He had an ugly anger at times, the Jiril.
Firial did look up then, and whatever there was in her pleasant brown eyes shut the Jiril’s mouth with a click Lisonje and I heard where we stood. She put away the beadwork and rose swiftly to her feet, standing very straight. At my shoulder Lisonje whispered, “Ah, Barduinn, let me do it! Let me change places with her for two minutes, two minutes only!” Barduinn is supposed to be our god, the special deity of all actors, but I must say I never got any decent use out of him—perhaps you’ve had better luck, yes? As always, he paid Lisonje no heed: she was to be compelled to watch yet another amateur play out a scene that she knew she could have handled with vastly more panache. I felt for her, I must say that. But then Firial spoke, and everything changed.
Firial said, “That will do, Father.” The Jiril’s head snapped around—as did ours—plainly not at the words themselves, but at the way she read the line. Tone and timing, it’s everything, I’ve always said that. Lisonje couldn’t have done better, and a side glance told me she knew it. Firial gave it just the right pause, just the right turn of the shoulders, and then the absolutely perfect small smile as she said clearly, “Because my husband will be very annoyed if he hears you speak to me so.”
Well, there may have been a jaw somewhere in the theatre that didn’t drop, but I never saw it.

~ Hehe ... that's my type of majesty:

(...) there reigned a king in Baraquil who was growing old with neither a wife to grow old at his side, nor child to care for them both. And this troubled him not at all, for he was a silent man, and much enjoyed his solitude. Yet his Chief Minister reminded him ever more constantly that to die with no heir was to invite chaos, and the King in time reluctantly agreed that this was so. Therefore he bade the Chief Minister to go forth in the land and choose him a wife, but not to make too much haste about it. “For I do this for the tranquility of my country only,” he said, “and not through any lust or longing of my own.”
And the Minister then said to him, “This is well understood, Gracious Majesty—but will you not say how you would prefer your queen to be? Will you have her merry or somber? Wanton or coy? Self-willed or tractable? Maddeningly beautiful or comfortably plain? Shall she be of the high old blood, or of the later-come nobility? A king desirous of marriage must consider such matters carefully, my lord.”
The King answered him shortly, saying, “I am not desirous of anything save being left in peace—yet, if it must be, then by all the gods’ grubby necks find me a woman of some intelligence, able at least to carry on a human conversation at mealtimes. The rest is for you to judge; one’s very like another, take or leave a bosom, or an ankle, or a trick of the light. Go away now.”

~ An anthropology lesson, anyone?

The giant raised him up until their eyes were on a level and stared at him, just clucking with fascination, like your Aunt Kelya when she hasn’t seen you for a while. “Look at that!” he kept saying, “you have fingernails almost like ours,” and again, “Look at that—why, I think you could grow a beard like a real Qu’alo, if you fancied.” Your Grandfather Selsim didn’t know whether to fall down in his hand laughing, or to stand there and gape for realizing that everyone thinks they’re the only Proper People in the world.

~ The power of authenticity lies in the tiny details:

Grandfather Selsim was already asleep, near enough, but he managed to mumble, “I’ll not be staying long. As soon as I can travel decently, I’ll be on my way. Rock-targs or no.”
Old Dudrilashashek didn’t contradict him, only nodded seriously and said, in that voice that always seemed to be coming right out of Grandfather Selsim’s own insides, “When you are healed, we will talk of this. Sleep now.”
“Giants or no,” your grandfather whispered, and slept for two days.
Yes, indeed, he certainly did have to piss something terrible when he woke up, thank you very much, I’d have forgotten.

~ I left "Lal and Soukyan" for the last, and I'm glad I did. For one thing, it made me appreciate better the details in the beginning, which cast a web of connections to the other tales. For another, meeting those two again evokes such powerful nostalgia that any story after this one would have felt anticlimactic.

Now let's see where Soukyan is taking us ....

~ This is how I'll remember them too, when it's nearing midnight and my mind's eyes can't quite close, cannot let go:

He put a hand on her shoulder. “I am glad of your company. Like the oldest old times, isn’t it?”
“Yes,” Lal said. They walked on, lifting their feet high to keep from stepping in steaming piles and puddles. She said, “I think I really disliked the old times. I’m trying to remember.”
The inn looked a decided step down from the public stable, but neither of them was of a mind to be finicky. They washed in tin buckets smelling of stale grain, dined on bread, weak ale, and the pottage of fermented milk and cheese that is the main dish of the region, and then slept until close on midnight in a bed apparently stuffed with knees and elbows. Soukyan woke first. He sat up slowly and leaned back against the wall, studying Lal’s sleep. She woke within a minute, and had her hand on the swordcane before she recognized him. “I hate that,” she said. “You know I hate being watched like that.”
“I know,” the old man answered. “I’m sorry. But it has always been my only chance to spy on your childhood, and I’ve never once been able to resist it. Forgive me.”
Lal was already off the bed and peering out of the room’s murky horn-paned window. “Can’t see a bloody thing,” she muttered. “Dark enough, anyway.” She turned back to face him. “What do I look like, then?”
“Trustful,” Soukyan said. Lal made a wordless disrespectful sound. She ran both hands vigorously through her short white hair, shook herself once, and said, “I thought we were going to steal a couple of mounts, not sit here chatting all night. Your churfas can’t be any fiercer than the bugs in that bed.”

Farewell, Soukyan and Lal. Sunlight on your roads, old, old friends ....
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Re: Питър С. Бийгъл

Postby Кал » Sun Apr 15, 2018 7:31 pm

Отзив в Goodreads за In Calabria:

In Calabria is a story about redemption through love, and second chances, and, yes, unicorns. But don't go in just for the unicorns.

I think my reading notes will give you an idea why.

~ Before we look at the unicorn proper, let us regard a monster:

The monster crowded gracefully past Bianchi to crane farther under the old tractor’s hood. He brushed the long ash from his cigar tip with a tap of his little finger, and it in turn brushed Bianchi’s hand as it fell into the engine. “Impacciato, goffo!” he berated himself. “My apologies, I am so clumsy. I should not be around machines—things just seem to happen. You know how it is with some people.”
“It is nothing.” Bianchi was consciously taking long, slow breaths as he worked, trying to slow down his racketing pulse.
“On the contrary,” the monster replied. “It is not nothing at all.” He flicked the cigar again, and more ash fell.
Bianchi took a last deep breath and turned to face the monster directly. The monster’s eyes were brown and friendly, with deep space beyond them. Bianchi said, “I will only tell you this once, because you already know what I am going to say. Nothing here is for sale. Not because you are who you are, but because I do not choose to sell my home to anyone, especially a pezzo di merda like you. I like it here.”
“Ah.” The monster seemed to take no offense at all. He nodded again. “Well, if you should ever decide that you like it here a bit less, you might let me know.” And he produced from his vest pocket, tucked neatly behind the Toscanos, an ivory-white card with his name on it in raised letters. “I will not trouble you further. Unless you call the number on that card, you will not be hearing from me again. Buon giorno, Mr. Bianchi.”
A Japanese helicopter was circling overhead as the monster walked away, and he waved to it without turning his head. A jeep with what looked like a harpoon gun mounted on the hood, followed too closely by a television van from a Messina station, started to cut across the monster’s path until the jeep driver—clad in camouflage clothing, like many of the hunters—recognized him and hit the brakes so hard that the jeep went up on its rear wheels, and the van smacked into it, jolting it into a half-spin, and producing a volley of screams, curses, and the distinct sound of buckling metal. The monster walked calmly by.

(But ... pezzo di merda? Really? Why does my old Italian shake its head rustily?

... Okay, obviously my Italian is too rusty. See Frankie's comment below.)

~ Love and sorrow, sorrow and love ....

When he asked hesitantly, “Have you been . . . thinking about this for a long time?” she giggled like a schoolgirl at first; but then she looked down at the table and nodded. He said, “About me?”
“And what is so astonishing about that, Signor Claudio Bianchi? Unicorns come to you all the time—why shouldn’t a woman?” Her eyes were not at all heavy then, but wickedly tender. Bianchi looked away from them.
He said, “I was married once.”
“Yes. Romano has told me. And she left you. So?”
“She was right to leave me. I was not good at being married.”
“Bianchi,” she said. “Claudio. Marriage isn’t like football, like bocce. One isn’t good at it, nobody has a special gift. You stumble along, and if there is enough love—” she smiled at him—“you learn.”
Bianchi got up from the table abruptly enough that Giovanna’s eyes widened. He turned in a circle, like a captive animal—a bear or an elephant—and then he stood leaning with his hands on the back of his chair. “There is no love in me. There is nothing to be learned. She would have stayed if there were, but she knew. I am just telling you now.”
“A unicorn has stayed.”
Bianchi was silent for a moment. “La Signora chose my farm because she felt it would be a safe place to have her baby. Not because of me.”
“You think not?” Giovanna’s expression was a curious mixture of exasperation and affectionate amusement. “You think a unicorn would not know—would not know—who would come out of his house in a storm to help her in her trouble? To perhaps save her child’s life? You think unicorns don’t know such things, Bianchi?”

~ I think I understand why some readers--who are in love with unicorns and magic as much as I am--dislike the second half of this story. Because it goes like this:

Bianchi stayed awake all night, inhaling her closeness, listening to the soft sounds her body made, thinking, can you write a poem about someone’s snores? About trying not to sneeze when her hair tickles my nose? About that one tiny, barely audible fart against my leg? What will I write at my kitchen table, now that she has been there, drinking my wine and eating the dinner I made for her? Late to be discovering all this, Bianchi—all this that children know about these days. Very, very late . . .

So, once you've stopped giggling, wrinkling your nose, shaking your head, whatever--can you ... can you still see the magic here? The unicorns?

Guess I was lucky from the first; already when I met The Last Unicorn, I kept looking for the unicorn--and manticore, and harpy, and Red Bull... okay, maybe not the harpy--inside everyone of us. Already then, I knew "human" means "anything"; a human being can be everything. And more.

So it is not that hard for me to like the second half of this story.

At least so far.

~ Here's the kind of domestic violence I condone:

He completed his evening tasks later than usual, sat in the kitchen for a while with his pipe and the last of the red Ciro, and at last went to bed. Remembering when he was too sleepy to get up again that he had forgotten to call Giovanna. He smiled drowsily, thinking about her . . .
. . . and woke up just as the door crashed in with a splintering squeal of hinges, and he was on the floor, being kicked scientifically and enthusiastically by all the feet in the world. The work was actually being done by only three pairs, but he did not realize this until he had been hauled upright a couple of times, slammed against his bed, and knocked down again, so that the kicking could continue. Somewhere in the process, he struck out in the darkness, felt a nose give, heard a gasping obscenity, and doubled over from a hammer-blow to his stomach. He clung to his assailant with all his strength, clawing for a grip on arms and shoulders he could not see, fearing to go down again. None of them said a word—a message was simply being delivered—and all he could think, as much as he could think, was thank God she isn’t here . . . oh, thank God . . . thank God . . .
. . . and then the motorcycle—Romano, he bought that used muffler from Malatesta—and the beating stopped at the sound . . . and she was there, raging among them through the broken door, swinging a tire iron like a flaming sword and screaming like a maniac. The ’Ndrangheta had no time to prepare for such an attack; in the close quarters the iron got home with every swing, and Giovanna drove them from one wall to the other, round and round, until they blundered outside and fled, lurching and limping, to the car that Bianchi had never heard arrive. She did not pursue, but dropped the tire iron and ran to him, dropping to her knees to catch him as he sagged, cursing steadily and fluently, and crying through it all. In the end, it was Bianchi who had to hold her.

~ Beagle has a rare penchant for evoking the ultimate Other: the otherworldly, the non-human. Although the unicorns here give us only a glimpse--far more fleeting than Sia in The Folk of the Air or Lukassa in The Innkeeper's Song (Lukassa whom I want to both hug and run away from)--it is enough to make me shiver and peer at those three clouds in the sky and wonder: what could have been, what else can we still be?
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Re: Питър С. Бийгъл

Postby Кал » Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:10 am

Отзивче в Goodreads за A Dance for Emilia:

This is a story for those times when we need to remind ourselves nothing ever ends.

But I wish it were longer and more personal. Yes, even more personal.

A pair of my favorite moments:

Wanting to dance wasn't something boys admitted to easily then—certainly not in our Brooklyn high school, where being interested in anything besides football, fighting, and very large breasts could get you called a faggot.

Sounds completely alien. Never heard of it ....

~ Hahaha:

"The phone would ring late at night, and I'd hear this hissing, sinister, Bulgarian secret-service voice telling me to be at Penn Station or Grand Central with a rose in my teeth at nine the next morning, and to look for a man in dark glasses carrying an umbrella, a rubber duck, and a rolled-up copy of Der Spiegel. And we'd each skulk around the station, with people staring at us, until we met, and wind up taking Amtrak to anywhere—to Tarrytown or Rhinecliff or Annandale—still being spies on the Orient Express the whole way. We'd spend the night, go out on a river tour, visit the old estates and museums, buy really dumb souvenirs, and never once break character until we walked out of the station again—back in the city, back in real life. And that was an Adventure."

(But I know the feeling.)
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Re: Питър С. Бийгъл

Postby Кал » Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:02 pm

В пощата си Кал wrote:Днес Бийгъл (май) става на 79. Аз си празнувам, четейки негов сборник от 2006-а:


Да хиляди!


П.П. Не знам стана ли ясно от долния линк, но сега е особено смислен
момент да си купите е-изданията му, за себе си или подаръци. Дотук
откликнаха само двамина.
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Re: Питър С. Бийгъл

Postby Кал » Sun Apr 29, 2018 9:10 am

Отзив в Goodreads за The Line Between:

Another excellent collection. I have no clue why I've put off reading Beagle's short work for so long.

Some highlights:

~ I've always felt there's something liminal about Beagle's writing, elusive and ineffable, and all those other words that teeter on the brink of language. Here, he tells it explicitly:

When my children were still small enough to be suckered (that’s the two youngest, not their older sister; she was never that small), I could keep them occupied in the car for some while by telling them that if they turned their heads fast enough they could look in their own ears. (What, you never bought yourself a single blessed moment of sanity by risking your children’s cervical vertebrae, eyesight, digestion, or emotional wellbeing?— Hypocrite lecteur,—man semblable,—monfrere! I want to see a note from your mother.)
In a very real sense, that’s what I’ve been doing all my life—trying to turn my head in time to glimpse that creature, that color, that melody, that metamorphosis, that human situation to be found living just around the farthest corner of my vision. Ever since I was a small, shy, overweight boy—a boy who could most often be found curled up under the stairs of his Bronx apartment building, telling himself stories—I’ve been used to almost hearing voices, almost catching sight of Donne’s “things invisible to see.” Indeed, my favorite among my own novels, The Innkeeper’s Song, had its birth on an island off Seattle, with me well-snuggled into the sweet spot between sleep and waking, when a rough, sour growl announced itself in my head, saying distinctly, “My name is Karsh. I am not a bad man.”
There it is: that invisible boundary between conscious and not, between reality and fantasy, between here (whatever “here” is) and there (whatever “there” might be), between the seen and the seen’s true nature. A line neither one thing nor ever quite the other, but now and eternally between.
As a writer, the line between is where I have always lived. It is my personal tightrope of choice, the one I most naturally walk, clutching only a small and somewhat silly-looking parasol of logic for a counterbalance. At times this precarious high-wire act exhausts and exasperates me, to the point where I feel that I’d give almost anything to step off the line, once and for all, and settle down to stories that, whatever their matter or milieu, don’t always insist on balancing so. But this is what I do. Clearly. In life and art I have never been able to laugh without being intensely aware of tears, or to shine a light on horror without also illuminating beauty.

Incidentally, 20 April is Beagle's birthday (at least according to Wikipedia; part of me stubbornly refuses to believe that). Thank you for all these years of illuminating our lives, even in the deepest dark, Peter!

~ "Gordon the Self-Made Cat" is such a yummy ;) story, working both as a parable and as a straightforward romp. Dig in:

In the really important classes, like Running and Pouncing, Climbing, Stalking, and Waiting For The Prey To Forget You’re Still There; and in matters of feline manners such as Washing, Tail Etiquette, The Elegant Yawn, Sleeping in Undignified Positions, and Making Sure You Get Enough Food Without Looking Greedy (101 and 102)—in all of these Gordon and the blue Persian were first, and the rest nowhere. Besides that, both could meow in five different dialects: Persian, Abyssinian, Siamese, Burmese (which almost no cat who isn’t Burmese ever learns), and basic tiger.

~ Of Beagle's many voices, Sooz's from "Two Hearts" remains a favorite, ever since I was trying to hear it in Bulgarian for our [book:ФантАstika 2007|3223762] almanac. Part of me wishes to meet Sooz again: the 17-year-old Sooz who walks out of her village, ready to whistle. Part of me is aware it may never happen.

But we can wait, both Sooz and I.

~ Actually, I like all of Beagle's child characters. Listen to Angie from "El Regalo":

Somewhere near the bottom of the container she finally managed to stuff what she’d just glimpsed deep in the part of her mind she called her “forgettery.” As she’d once said to her friend Melissa, “There’s such a thing as too much information, and it is not going to get me. I am never going to know more than I want to know about stuff. Look at the President.”

~ As I said in my reflections on In Calabria, Beagle has a rare penchant for describing the Other/the Otherness. It's chilling, it's disturbing, but it also liberates us from the confines of the anthropocentric. Which is a major power of fantasy.

Here is a relatively muffled example from "Quarry":

Where was I? Yes, I remember—groping blindly in the shadow on the chance of dragging one or the other of them back into the moonlight of this world. My arms vanished to the wrists, the forearms, past the elbows, into … into the flame of the stars? Into the eternal, unimaginable cold of the gulfs between them? I do not know to this day; for that, you must study my scarred old flesh and form your own opinion. What I know is that my hands closed on something they could not feel, and in turn I hauled them back, though I could not connect them, even in my mind, with a human body, mine or anyone else’s. I screamed all the time, of course, but the pain had nothing to do with me—it was far too terrible, too grand, to belong to one person alone. I felt almost guilty keeping it for myself.

(The last sentence also demonstrates the wry humor that prevents the Other from becoming too disturbing, completely inapplicable to our human condition.)

~ Ah! This book is crawling with my countrymen!

Here's the one in "Mr. Sigerson":

The Greater Bornitz Municipal Orchestra has always been weak in the lower strings, for some reason—it is very nearly a tradition with us. That year we boasted, remarkably, four cellists, two of them rather wispy young women who peeped around their instruments with an anxious and diffident air. The third, however, was a burly Russo-Bulgarian named Volodya Andrichev: blue-eyed, blue-chinned, wild-haired, the approximate size of a church door (and I mean an Orthodox church here), possessed of—or by—an attack that should by rights have set fire to his score. He ate music, if you understand me; he approached all composition as consumption, from Liszt and Rossini, at which he was splendid, to Schumann, whom he invariably left in shreds, no matter how I attempted to minimize his presence, or to conceal it outright. Nevertheless, I honored his passion and vivacity; and besides, I liked the man. He had the snuffling, shambling charm of the black bears that still wander our oak forests as though not entirely sure what they are doing here, but content enough nonetheless. I quite miss him, as much time as it’s been.

(The other is in "A Dance for Emilia".)
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Re: Питър С. Бийгъл

Postby Кал » Fri May 11, 2018 1:46 pm

Отзив в Goodreads за We Never Talk about My Brother:

Another strong collection, and another proof that in true fantasy, nothing you've experienced so far can prepare you for what is waiting round the corner, past the next bend of the road.

~ How does one make art? Let "Uncle Chaim and Aunt Rifke and the Angel" illuminate us:

The blue angel was indeed waiting when Uncle Chaim arrived in the studio early the next morning. She had even made coffee in his ancient glass percolator, and was offended when he informed her that it was as thin as rain and tasted like used dishwater. “Where I come from, no one ever makes coffee,” she returned fire. “We command it.”

“That’s what’s wrong with this crap,” Uncle Chaim answered her. “Coffee’s like art, you don’t order coffee around.”

~ Well ....


~ From "The Tale of Junko and Sayuri":

“(...) But we must always remember that all barbarians believe themselves to be civilized, and dealing with such people while keeping the dangerous truth from them requires a subtlety that few possess. You are not one of them, Junko-san.”

Is it only the Japanese? Or is it diplomacy as a whole?

(Ironically, harrowingly, the great revelation at the end of this story is perhaps about what happens when we possess too much subtlety. Enough to fool our own souls.)

~ Beagle is having fun in "The Last and Only, Or, Mr. Moscowitz becomes French":

Within a week of the trial, Mr. Moscowitz was a national celebrity, which meant that as many people knew his name as knew the name of the actor who played the dashing Gilles de Rais in a new television serial, and not quite as many as recognized the eleven-year-old Racine girl with a forty-inch bust, who sang Christian techno-rap.

The President shook his hand, and gave him a souvenir fountain pen and a flag lapel, and said that he regarded Mr. Moscowitz’s transformation as the ultimate expression of the American dream, for it surely proved to the world that any American could become whatever he wanted enough to be, even if what he wanted to be was a snail-eating French wimp.

(Any bets on which President was that?)

Once, on a talk show, he said, taking great care with his English grammar, “The United States is like a very large dog which has not been—qu’est-ce que c’est le mot?—housebroken. It is well enough in its place, but its place is not on the couch. Or in the Mideast, or in Africa, or in a restaurant kitchen.”

~ ... and even more fun in "Spook" and its duel with the worst poetry ever written in English. I itch to quote something but I don't know where to begin.

(Though, after spending a couple of years on a couple of Bulgarian self-publishing sites, I wasn't that shaken. Heck, I've even contributed some ....)

~ And then, to compensate, Peter gives us "The Unicorn Tapestries":

Oh, in the morning, when we came
out to go walking, and saw him blaze
up from the field like a shout of praise,
shining and shining and shining,
too bright, too living, to have a name.
Pepée started barking and running in circles, and I—
Oh, then I did cry.

All in the morning, there he lay,
collared and kept with a silver chain,
red with the pomegranates’ sugary rain,
shining and shining and shining,
with a fence like a ribbon to make him stay.
His horn was all sunset and spindrift, all rainbow and rose—
Pepée licked his nose.

All in the morning, feeling his breath
play in my hair as he stamped and blew,
just for a moment I knew what he knew,
shining and shining and shining—
that nothing could hold him, not even death;
that no collars, no chains, no fences, as strong as they seem,
can hold a dream.

I am breathless.
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Re: Питър С. Бийгъл

Postby Кал » Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:01 pm

Отзив в Goodreads за Mirror Kingdoms: The Best of Peter S. Beagle:

Although there're a few other pieces I would've liked to see included here, this collection does justice to both Peter Beagle's versatility and the concept of "best." The majority of the stories certainly go beyond "good." ;) I've highlighted some of them in my notes below.

Before we go there, let me tackle this question: is Mirror Kingdoms a suitable entry point to Beagle's ouevre?

... Nah, I can't tackle it. If anything, the question will tackle me if I try too hard. Let's just say you can enter Peter's ouevre from any point along his creative timeline. You won't be disappointed; nor would the first point prepare you for any other. (So in fact you may be disappointed if you expect to find more of the same splendor and subtlety that you just read. Peter doesn't like repetition. It won't, can never be the same.)

Now, about some of those points:

~ I've already read most of the stories here, so I will likely focus on the background bits. Like this gem in the intro:

The novelette length suits me in many ways: it leaves me room for digression—for what someone called “incidental felicities”—to move around and make discoveries, to take my time letting the tale unroll, and above all to surprise myself, which is crucial, whether you’ve got it all plotted and charted from the beginning or, like me, you’re fumbling around trying to trick the story into telling itself. All of that time and effort invested so that someone can later tell you, meaning to praise, that the story seemed to have flown out of you in one smooth burst of inspiration. If I hate one word in this world….

~ What do we see when we look at trees or houses, or our children, or a rhinoceros?

Well, here's what "Professor Gottesman and the Indian Rhinoceros" see:

“A mannerly child,” the rhinoceros commented. “One sees so few here. Most of them throw things.”
His mouth dry, and his voice shaky but contained, Professor Gottesman asked carefully, “Tell me, if you will—can all rhinoceri speak, or only the Indian species?” He wished furiously that he had thought to bring along his notebook.
“I have no idea,” the rhinoceros answered him candidly. “I myself, as it happens, am a unicorn.”
Professor Gottesman wiped his balding forehead. “Please,” he said earnestly. “Please. A rhinoceros, even a rhinoceros that speaks, is as real a creature as I. A unicorn, on the other hand, is a being of pure fantasy, like mermaids, or dragons, or the chimera. I consider very little in this universe as absolutely, indisputably certain, but I would feel so much better if you could see your way to being merely a talking rhinoceros. For my sake, if not your own.”
It seemed to the Professor that the rhinoceros chuckled slightly, but it might only have been a ruminant’s rumbling stomach. “My Latin designation is Rhinoceros unicornis,” the great animal remarked. “You may have noticed it on the sign.”
Professor Gottesman dismissed the statement as brusquely as he would have if the rhinoceros had delivered it in class. “Yes, yes, yes, and the manatee, which suckles its young erect in the water and so gave rise to the myth of the mermaid, is assigned to the order sirenia. Classification is not proof.”
“And proof,” came the musing response, “is not necessarily truth. You look at me and see a rhinoceros, because I am not white, not graceful, far from beautiful, and my horn is no elegant spiral but a bludgeon of matted hair. But suppose that you had grown up expecting a unicorn to look and behave and smell exactly as I do—would not the rhinoceros then be the legend? Suppose that everything you believed about unicorns—everything except the way they look—were true of me? Consider the possibilities, Professor, while you push the remains of that bun under the gate.”

~ You can find my notes on "The Last and Only, or, Mr. Moscowitz Becomes French", "Uncle Chaim and Aunt Rifke and the Angel" and "The Tale of Junko and Sayuri" here; on "El Regalo" and "Two Hearts" here ; and on "The Last Song of Sirit Byar" and "Giant Bones" here.

~ Where does Death live? Besides the obvious Pratchettesque response, "In Death's Domain," here's what "Come Lady Death" has to say:

“Death undoubtedly lives in London,” said Lady Neville, “like everyone else of any importance, though he probably goes to Deauville for the summer. Actually, Death must live fairly near my own house. This is much the best section of London, and you could hardly expect a person of Death’s importance to live anywhere else. When I stop to think of it, it’s really rather strange that we haven’t met before now, on the street.”

Most of her friends agreed with her, but the poet, whose name was David Lorimond, cried out, “No, my lady, you are wrong! Death lives among the poor. Death lives in the foulest, darkest alleys of this city, in some vile, rat-ridden hovel that smells of—” He stopped here, partly because Lady Neville had indicated her displeasure, and partly because he had never been inside such a hut or thought of wondering what it smelled like.

Also, rereading this novelette reminded me that Lady Death, and especially the way she became Lady Death, was the inspiration behind my own "What Will She Be?". (If you can read Bulgarian, the full version is here; it shows the influence more palpably.) Some stories go a long way back. Even before the world as we know it. ;)

~ A dialogue in "Julie's Unicorn" captures a rather familiar sentiment:

“(...) What does old ambitious Brian do?”
“He’s a lawyer.” Julie heard herself mumbling, saw the corner of Farrell’s mouth twitch, and promptly flared up again. “And I don’t want to hear one bloody word out of you, Farrell! He’s not a hired gun for corporations, he doesn’t defend celebrity gangsters. He works for non-profits, environmental groups, refugees, gay rights—he takes on so many pro bono cases, half the time he can’t pay his office rent. He’s a better person than you’ll ever be, Farrell. Or me either. That’s the damn, damn trouble.” Her eyes were aching heavily, and she looked away from him.

~ From "Lila the Werewolf", an urban fantasy from 1974:

Ben said, “I told you about Bronx girls. You better come stay at my place for a few days.”
Farrell shook his head. “No, that’s silly. I mean, it’s only Lila. If she were going to hurt me, she could have done it last night. Besides, it won’t happen again for a month. There has to be a full moon.”
His friend stared at him. “So what? What’s that got to do with anything? You going to go on home as though nothing had happened?”
“Not as though nothing had happened,” Farrell said lamely. “The thing is, it’s still only Lila, not Lon Chaney or somebody. Look, she goes to her psychiatrist three afternoons a week, and she’s got her guitar lesson one night a week, and her pottery class one night, and she cooks eggplant maybe twice a week. She calls her mother every Friday night, and one night a month she turns into a wolf. You see what I’m getting at? It’s still Lila, whatever she does, and I just can’t get terribly shook about it. A little bit, sure, because what the hell. But I don’t know. Anyway, there’s no mad rush about it. I’ll talk to her when the thing comes up in conversation, just naturally. It’s okay.”
Ben said, “God damn. You see why nobody has any respect for liberals anymore? Farrell, I know you. You’re just scared of hurting her feelings.”
“Well, it’s that too,” Farrell agreed, a little embarrassed. “I hate confrontations. If I break up with her now, she’ll think I’m doing it because she’s a werewolf. It’s awkward, it feels nasty and middle-class. I should have broken up with her the first time I met her mother, or the second time she served the eggplant. Her mother, boy, there’s the real werewolf, there’s somebody I’d wear wolfsbane against, that woman. (...)”

Funny, ain't it?

But the story itself--especially the ending--made me sad to the point of tears. All the more so because I suspect the author didn't mean it to be.

~ From "What Tune the Enchantress Plays":

It was a clumsy kiss, as unruly as his hair, and it stumbled blindly over my face for what felt like a lifetime before it found my mouth. I was just as awkward: the two of us like blind newborn kittens, scrambling through a forest of fur toward the nipple—toward life. It was so sweet that I wept as though my heart were breaking, and poor Lathro was terrified, thinking that he had somehow hurt me or frightened me. But I reassured him.


And then:

Do your folk have hearts? Do they serve another purpose, as ours do, besides hurrying the impatient blood along through your veins, if you even have veins? Mine stopped—just for an instant, but completely—and then it surged to the size of Belgarth, so that my chest could not nearly contain it, and with a cry the Queen must have heard in Fors na’ Shachim I threw myself into Lathro’s arms. I think we mortals must each be allowed one moment like that in our lives. I don’t believe we are constructed to withstand two.

A bandit prince out to steal our hearts indeed. Or make us see deeper into them.

~ "What Tune the Enchantress Plays" is, ultimately, a story about
Скрит текст: покажи
betrayal and our reactions when we've been betrayed. Extremely relevant to my current quest. (The link points to a forum in Bulgarian; you'd need registration too.)
What everyone says and does is suitably dramatic. It's also silly, if you look at it from a calmer place--the way all drama seems silly once we've let the strong emotions run their course. Somebody once said that tragedy requires stupid players: at least one, preferably two or more. It needs people who weren't smart enough to come up with a more encompassing solution.

Then again, I'm coming to believe that all evil starts where our smarts end.

~ "Vanishing" got me good and strong. By the throat. Even though I could see where it was going (or thought I did), the bandit prince worked his magic, drew my tears.

Thank you, Mr Bandit, Highness.
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Re: Питър С. Бийгъл

Postby Кал » Wed Jul 18, 2018 6:25 pm

Отгласи към горния отзив:

Dolores wrote:Peter S. Beagle is the very best, most excellent fabulist alive. I've loved him since I was 16 and still love him now that I'm older and a granny. I own this title and and all of his other books except the latest one. His short stories are superb. I read them and I sigh happily at the end. Peter was a guest at Otakon in Baltimore several years ago and I couldn't attend so I wrote him a note on a postcard and sent it by a friend and he told her ,"Dolores, I love her." -I wrote to him occasionally with love for this book or that story - I was thrilled and since I'm a real fan fell head over hills in love with him again, sigh! Love hurts. Short stories are my special love and along with Peter beagle I recommend the short stories of Langston Hughes, Joan Aiken, Neil Gaiman, Maupassant, Italo Calvino, Chekhov, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Sholom Aleichem, Tagore, Patricia McKillip,Saki (of course), Andrew Vachss,and many more that I cannot recall - I'm at work and have to go back to it - happy reading!

Кал wrote:Thank you for sharing, Dolores! For the shared love, too. :) Here's what Peter did to me (and still does):


I've discovered Patricia McKillip only recently (but, my oh my, what a journey reading her will be). I'll explore your other recommendations too. I can add the names of Theodore Sturgeon and, umm, I need to think a bit more myself. ;)
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Re: Питър С. Бийгъл

Postby Кал » Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:04 pm

Отзив в Goodreads за Sleight of Hand:

Another powerful experience. I'm running out of words to do justice to it, but what matters is that Peter's words aren't running out of power.

Here're some words anyway:

~ I seem to have neglected this passage from "The Rock in the Park" when I first read it in Mirror Kingdoms:

“I keep telling you, the artist isn’t the magic. The artist is the sight, the artist is someone who knows magic when he sees it. The magic doesn’t care whether it’s seen or not—that’s the artist’s business. (...)”

(So ... what do humans see when they look at their own children?)

~ My impressions of "What Tune the Enchantress Plays" and "Vanishing" are here.

~ Is this passage from "La Lune T’Attend" an eye-opener or merely a reminder?

Still no response. Arceneaux looked into Garrigue’s eyes, and could not find Garrigue there, but only frozen, helpless terror. “Listen, Rene, I tell you something my daddy use to say. Daddy, he say to me always, ‘Di moin qui vous lamein, ma di cous qui vous ye.’ You tell me who you love, I tell you who you are.” Garrigue began returning slowly to his own eyes, looking back at him: expressionless, but present. Arceneaux said, “You think just maybe we know who we are, Compe’ Rene?”
Garrigue smiled a little, shakily. “Duplessis…. Duplessis, he don’t love nobody. Never did.”
“So Duplessis ain’t nobody. Duplessis don’t exist. You gone be scared of somebody don’t exist?”

It works either way.

~ "Up the Down Beanstalk: A Wife Remembers" and "Oakland Dragon Blues" are little gems each. The former reminded me of the Shrek movies, with its tongue-in-cheek subversion, and the latter gambols along the same lines as "The Rock in the Park", or indeed a very favorite passage from The Innkeeper's Song, where Lal tells a story about the power of storytelling.

~ In "Dirae," I didn't understand why the protagonist did what she did at the end.

At the same time, I was reminded that a carefully crafted story can become too clinical; if we make the characters
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(or the setting ... tsk, tsk, tsk)
too alien, we may, well, alienate the readers. I didn't build the kind of connection to this protagonist that would make me go back and look for possible explanations of the ending.

Another reason may have been the amount of implicit sexual violence. Or violence as a whole. When a story revolves around violence, it has to build at least one strong empathetic bridge if I'm not to fall into the abyss of "That's too much, too one-sided ... let me out of here, I want out!"

Fortunately, such "detachment" is a rare occurrence in Peter's stories.

~ There're magicians and magicians. In case The Last Unicorn hasn't shown you enough:

(...) Mourra heard the boy announcing, “You could have killed the dragon. Gicians can kill dragons, can’t they?”

“Some of us can,” the tall man answered absently. “Myself, I usually try to talk to them. You learn more that way.”

Have you picked your type yet?

"The Woman Who Married the Man in the Moon" has a lot more to tell about magic, but quoting it will spoil both the story and its subject. Instead, I'll leave a question to remind me: Where should we place our faith if magic is to work for real?

And, Peter ... thank you for reminding me. Over and again.
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