In Calabria

Peter S. Beagle

2018 World Fantasy Award nominee
2018 Locus finalist – Best novella
2018 Best Czech Translation award from the Akademie of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror
2017 Northern California Book Award -Finalist

Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2017
A Kirkus February’s Must-Read Sci-Fi Fantasy title
A Barnes and Noble Bookseller’s Pick: Best Sci-Fi & Fantasy

An old-fashioned farmer lives alone in Italy’s scenic Calabria, until a magical visitor appears to throw his life into chaos. From the acclaimed author of The Last Unicorn comes a new, exquisitely-told fable for the modern age.


In Calabria

by Peter S. Beagle

ISBN: 978-1-61696-248-7

Published: February 2017

Available Format(s): Hardcover and Digital Books


“A novella about love in a world of hardship, loss, magic, and recovery. 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 to the company of others. But one chilly morning, 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.

Praise for In Calabria

Locus 2017 Recommended Reading List

[STARRED REVIEW] “Acclaimed fantasist Beagle (Summerlong) sets this charming, lyrical tale of unicorns and love on a poor little hillside farm in the toe of boot-shaped Italy, where 47-year-old Claudio Bianchi scratches out a meager existence for himself, old dog Garibaldi, goat Cherubino, three cows, a pig, and three cats. Claudio writes poetry, too, and one day a golden-white unicorn appears to him as a gentle reminder of the freedom animals and humans have lost. The unicorn becomes the one miracle of Claudio’s life—and the ultimate tourist attraction. He protects her as best he can from hordes of reporters, television crews and helicopters, animal rights activists, yearning yokels, and even the Calabrian ’Ndràngheta mob. After Claudio helps the unicorn deliver her colt, his heart, frozen by an earlier tragedy, warms to Giovanna, the intrepid 20-ish sister of the postman. Neatly playing the strictures of Claudio’s simple rural life against the shimmering wildness of the unicorn, Beagle’s kindly fable shows how a man who seems to have nothing can really have everything—with just a touch of magic.”
Publishers Weekly

“A novella about love in a world of hardship, loss, magic, and recovery. Beagle’s unicorns have never been more bewitching, impossible, and genuine. I cherished every page.”
—Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked and After Alice 

“At his best, [Beagle] combines earthy practicality with delight and bewildered joy, and his work usually nestles folklore and modern concerns side-by-side. In Calabria upholds that pattern.”

“Peter S. Beagle’s story of an Italian farmer encountering a gravid unicorn, is reminiscent of his 1968 masterpiece THE LAST UNICORN. But the new book emphasizes the interior transformations caused by this mythical animal. A simultaneous affair between 50-ish widower Claudio Bianchi and a fierce motorcyclist young enough to be his daughter reads alternately as metaphor for the irrationality and vulnerability of love and as simple wish fulfillment. The unicorn colt’s sire, black and furious, appears near the book’s end as counterbalance to the dam’s white beauty, a compelling vision of the positive masculine principle lacking in Beagle’s early work.”
Seattle Review of Books

“For me, Peter S. Beagle is one of the essential voices in American literature, so essential that I approach each new book he writes not only with excitement but also with trepidation. Can he possibly do it again? Today I read In Calabria from cover to cover. He does it again.”
—Kevin Brockmeier, bestselling author of The Brief History of the Dead

“Peter S. Beagle is a master of the magical, but also of the little details of day to day existence that root his characters in the soil, sweat and everyday breezes of their worlds, and make the magical all the more magical when it touches them. It’s deep and powerful magic that stirs things to life in the gentle fable of In Calabria, but what it stirs—greed, peril, beauty, grief, love, publicity, sorrow, poetry and more—are very much matters of the human heart. Beagle once again explores the magic within us and the magic around us, and does it in unmatched style.”
—Kurt Busiek, author of Astro City and The Avengers

 “Peter Beagle weaves his trademark magic deep in the Italian countryside, using threads of the everyday and the fantastical: poetry and pigs, Mafia bosses and terrible beauty, love and rage, the sacred born of the profane. In Calabria holds the power to transform, like the touch of the unicorn at its heart.”
—Laurie R. King, author of the Mary Russell series (The Beekeeper’s Apprentice)

“What a wondrous gift it is to have a new unicorn story from Peter S. Beagle! In Calabria is both elegant and earthy, with a slow build of wonder, and then tension, and then growing dread that propels the reader inexorably toward the miraculous conclusion. Once again Peter Beagle demonstrates why he is one of the greatest fantasy writers of all time!”
—Bruce Coville, author of The Unicorn Chronicles

In Calabria is smart, heart-touching, specific and metaphoric at the same time, lyrical, stunning. And anyone who writes or wants to write, or loves to read, should read it. I am just that bowled over by it.”
—Jane Yolen, author of Briar Rose, Sister Emily’s Lightship, The Devil’s Arithmetic, and Sister Light, Sister Dark

In Calabria is a gorgeous story shaped with elegant prose and stunning imagery . . . It is a unicorn story. It is a coming of age story. It is a story of forgiveness and a story of love. In Calabria will speak to each and every reader that ventures through its pages.
So Many Books, So Little Time

“Beauty, imagination, poetry and magic . . . 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. 10/10 stars.”

 “This is a lovely story and well worth a read.”

“Magical realism at its best, In Calabria is a modern incarnation of the unicorn fable! Lyrical and sweet, Beagle’s elegant prose reinforces the quiet joy of an old man’s attempt to capture the impossible magic of a moment through poetry.”
Read Well

“It is truly a romantic tale of love and loss and how hope never really abandons us.”
Nerds of a Feather

In Calabria is a lovingly crafted paean to redemption.”
Green Man Review

“A return to form for the man who did for unicorns what Tolkien has done for elves and dwarves.”
Critical Writ

“Beagle writes a modern fairy tale with so much heart and grace, and rather than the world he writes being transformed by it, it’s the characters who are changed deeply and utterly by unfathomable events . . . Pick this book up, you won’t regret it.”
Pop Culture Beast

 “With the deft touch of a master storyteller, Peter S. Beagle weaves a strong thread of mythology into this gorgeous and emotional tale about love, sacrifice, and courage. Reading In Calabria is like stepping through a veil and into a dream, crossing into that secret and magical place where everyday life comes face to face with the fantastical. It’s an unforgettable, stunning experience.”

“A lyrical modern fairy tale, In Calabria is a lovely tale of finding magic in our world and the importance of protecting it while we have it. It’s the hopeful kind of story we all need right now.”

“Lyrical, touching and exquisitely beautiful . . . a delicious and noteworthy masterpiece. Highly recommended.”

“Stays tantalizing to the end. Beagle’s many fans will be pleased.”

“Short, lyrical, and romantic.”
Templeton Gate

“There is more magic and romantic dignity in this novel, brimming with wisdom.”

“Beautifully simplistic, wonderful prose, subdued fantasy, a hint of romance tempered with an underlying streak of potential violence.  I enjoyed this[—] in fact I was fascinated by it enough to read it in one sitting.”
The Speculative Herald

 “The lovely use of metaphor, allusions, and imagery make the details of In Calabria shine like opals in a riverbed.”
Foreword Reviews

“No one else makes unicorns look so elegant, pure, and beautiful than author Peter S. Beagle, and in this new story he reminds fans what a great job he can do when it comes writing about them.”
Open Book Society

“Beagle weaves a magical story, his lyrical prose dancing across the page.”
Dueling Librarians

“This novel shows that beauty is more than an idea.”
World Magazine

“Peter S. Beagle’s new novel is magical, furious, gripping, and heartwarming. A story that despite its mythical component is a story of determination, bravery, faithfulness, and love that can give hope and a new life to a beaten and bruised soul.”

“You may recognise Beagle as the author of fantasy classic The Last Unicorn, and fifty years later (fifty!) he has returned to write about his favourite mythical creature with just as much wistful poetic brilliance.”

About Peter S. Beagle

Peter S. Beagle is the internationally-bestselling author of the fantasy classic, The Last Unicorn, which has sold over five million copies since its initial publication in 1968. His novels include A Fine & Private Place, The Innkeeper’s Song, Tamsin, and most recently, Summerlong and In Calabria. His short fiction collections include The Line Between and Sleight of Hand. Beagle is also the editor of The Secret History of Fantasy and The New Voices of Fantasy (with Jacob Weisman). His screenwriting credits include Star Trek and the animated films of The Lord of the Rings and The Last Unicorn.

Beagle has won the Hugo, Nebula, Mythopoeic, and Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire awards, as well as lifetime achievement awards from Comic-Con and the World Fantasy Convention. He lives in Richmond, California, where he is working on too many projects to begin to name.

Praise for Peter S. Beagle

“Warm, wise and deep.”
—New York Times

 “Short story and fantasy lovers will devour these tasty tidbits that whet the appetite for more.”
Library Journal

“[Beagle] has been compared, not unreasonably, with Lewis Carroll and J. R. R. Tolkien, but he stands squarely—and triumphantly—on his own feet.”
The Saturday Review

“One of my favorite writers.”
—Madeleine L’Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time and A Swiftly Tilting Planet

“Peter S. Beagle illuminates with his own particular magic such commonplace matters as ghosts, unicorns, and werewolves. For years a loving readership has consulted him as an expert on those hearts’ reasons that reason does not know.”
—Ursula K. Le Guin, author of A Wizard of Earthsea and The Left Hand of Darkness

“The only contemporary to remind one of Tolkien.”

“Peter S. Beagle is (in no particular order) a wonderful writer, a fine human being, and a bandit prince out to steal readers’ hearts.”
—Tad Williams, author of The Dragonbone Chair and The Very Best of Tad Williams

“It’s a fully rounded region, this other world of Peter Beagle’s imagination…an originality…that is wholly his own.”

“Not only does Peter Beagle make his fantasy worlds come vividly, beautifully alive; he does it for the people who enter them.”
—Poul Anderson, author of The High Crusade

“Peter S. Beagle is the magician we all apprenticed ourselves to. Before all the endless series and shared-world novels, Beagle was there to show us the amazing possibilities waiting in the worlds of fantasy, and he is still one of the masters by which the rest of the field is measured.”
—Lisa Goldstein, author of The Red Magician and The Uncertain Places

“Peter S. Beagle would be one of the century’s great writers in any arena he chose; we readers must feel blessed that Beagle picked fantasy as a homeland. Magic pumps like blood through the veins of his stories. Imparting passionately breathing, singing, laughing reality to the marvelous is his great gift to us all.”
—Edward Bryant, author of Cinnabar

Visit the Peter S. Beagle website.

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