This is a magical book. I had a hard time keep my composure while reading some of the more emotional portions of the story. The love affair is touching albeit unlikely. It hit a bit close to home since I have been in similar May-December romances which weren’t as successful as depicted here. I find the unicorn more believable than that part of the tale. The text is peppered with Italian word and phrases, but most times one can surmise their import through context. The tale is a bit gritty in spots and comes off more as a tale of magical realism that straight fantasy. Bianchi lives a hermit’s life in a remote location, but is still living in the 21st century. The only fantastic element is the unicorn. The language is at times frank and realistic, and some situations are not the sort one might expect to find in a tale about magical creatures. There is some violence which gets a bit graphic in spots, but it is not gratuitous and Beagle does not linger on it.
I read this book in one day and loved it. It is a lot different than what I expected and I am glad I listened to my intuition and looked into it. There is much here for lovers of fantasy, as well as a well-told tale. The prose is poetic without being too self-conscious and the story is heartwarming but not cloying. I highly recommend it.
Photo: Rina Weisman
Becky Hosman at YAKIMA HERALD enjoys the book.
Beagle spins a short but lasting story of finding magic in the world and in others. The hero of the story is Claudio Bianchi, a curmudgeon who has isolated himself on a farm in the hills of southwest Italy. He allows for the occasional interference from his pesky postman, and secretly writes poetry that he shares with no one.
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For more info about IN CALABRIA, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover design by Elizabeth Story
For more info on SUMMERLONG, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover art by Magdalena Korzeniewska
Design by Elizabeth Story