The Last Unicorn, by Peter S Beagle

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Posted by dormouse (31st May 2004, 19:45)

I first saw this book on the Locus Top Fantasy Books list, and later there was the news that it was going to be made into a film. These seemed like two good reasons to get it for the library, and after watching it sit unread on the New Books shelf for a few months, I thought I'd give it a go. It was certainly worth it.

A unicorn finds out that she may be the last of her kind, and leaves her forest to find out what happened to the rest of the unicorns. It's a beautifully written little fairytale, with curious ironic/modern touches threaded throughout that somehow enhance the magic instead of breaking it. I look forward to see what the film will make of it (including Christopher Lee and Rene Auberjonois, Dec 2005); a 1982 animated version seems well regarded and easily available so I'll acquire that for the library soon.

It's one of those rare books that will let you know if you'll enjoy reading it within the first few pages (or paragraphs), so grab it from the shelves and give it a try.

About item:

- The Last Unicorn

Related items:

- The Last Unicorn
- The Princess Bride

About author:

- Beagle, Peter S

Related authors:

- Video

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read biography for - karne

 karne ( 3rd Jun 2004, 10:44, Rank: GSV )  reply

(mild spoilers) I don't really know what to say about this book. It's beautiful. It's powerful. It's also put me in a state of thoughtful depression that's lasted 3 days so far.


Style is similar (in a way, sort of) to Princess Bride. The plot and the core meaning of the book however is very different. The Bride preaches 'love conquors all' and 'you can do anything, if you try hard enough'. The Last Unicorn is almost the exact opposite; all the characters know what they want, but none of them have any ability to get it. The boy doesn't marry the girl, and the girl spends the rest of her immortal life hiding from regret and loss. Emotions that by her very nature, she's incapable of dealing with.

Would I recommend the book? Wholeheartedly. The butterfly alone makes it worth the read. Just try not to get as deeply involved as I did.

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