Peter S. Beagle’s IN CALABRIA is a masterpiece of magical realism

The reviews keep rolling in for Peter S Beagle’s well crafted IN CALABRIA.

Photo: Rina Weisman

For RISINGSHADOW, Seregil of Rhiminee praises the book.

Peter S. Beagle’s IN CALABRIA is a lyrical, touching and exquisitely beautiful story set in Calabria. It’s perfect fiction for those who enjoy reading well-told literary stories, because it’s a magical tale for adults. It’s like a slice of real life that has been spiced with fantasy elements.

Before I delve into writing about this story and its contents, I’ll mention that it can be classified either as a short novel or as a novella. I personally classify it as a novella, because it is of novella length.

For a while now, I’ve admired Peter S. Beagle’s literary voice, because he writes beautiful fiction in his own unique way. I like his way of combining fantastical and realistic elements, because he does it extremely well and engages the reader’s attention from the very first page. In my opinion, this novella is an excellent example of his writing skills, because it’s a beautiful fable for modern readers.

IN CALABRIA is one of those novellas that are not meant to be read in haste (it is not intended to readers who skim through stories without taking the time to ponder their meaning). This novella is a relatively fast read, but please don’t let its length fool you into believing that it’s a simple story without depth. It’s anything but simple, because it features such themes as isolation and loneliness, which are explored in a delicate yet surprisingly strong way.


One of the most important things why I love this novella is that the author writes lyrical prose. His beautiful prose is a pleasure to read, because his descriptions about the happenings are elegant.

Peter S. Beagle’s IN CALABRIA is a delicious and noteworthy masterpiece of magical realism for everyone who loves literary speculative fiction and enjoys reading beautifully written stories. It’s a captivating and rewarding story that should not be missed by fantasy readers, because it pulses with elegance and subtle beauty.

Highly recommended!

JL Jamieson of POP CULTURE BEAST finds the story to be the perfect Valentine.

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.

It’s always a pleasure to see a new Beagle novel, as he writes these wonderful tales that involve the supernatural–but are actually about the characters and the way they’re changed by fantastic events. He’s been at this a long time, and it shows in how well crafted the novel is. He’s created the perfect Valentine.

Pick this book up, you won’t regret it.

At THE SEATTLE REVIEW OF BOOKS, Nisi Shawl reviews the fantasy.

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.

Joel Cunningham of B&N SCI-FI & FANTASY BLOG announces the book’s release.

A master of fantasy returns with a new unicorn and a new story, set in the rural farmland of Calabria. Frozen by a past tragedy, Claudio lives a simple life with a few animals, writing poetry and barely surviving. He is astonished when into his life appears a unicorn, forcing him to remember the true freedom that all living things have lost in modern times. The unicorn attracts hordes of reporters and tourists, as well as animal rights activists and those who intend the creature harm. Claudio stoutly protects her, and when he helps her bear her foal, Claudio sees his own life returning to him, the birth of new possibilities. Anyone who loved THE LAST UNICORN knows the power of a Peter S. Beagle story.

For more info about IN CALABRIA, visit the Tachyon page.

Cover design by Elizabeth Story