The essential first volume of bestselling author Peter S. Beagle’s (The Last Unicorn) short stories demonstrates why he is one of America’s most influential fantasists. With his celebrated versatility, humor, and grace, Beagle is at home in a dazzling variety of subgenres. Evoking comparison to such iconic authors as Twain, Tolkien, Carroll, L’Engle, and Vonnegut, this career retrospective celebrates Beagle’s mastery of the short-story form.
“For over forty years, Peter S. Beagle has been the gold standard of fantasy.”
—Neil Gaiman, author of The Sandman
[STARRED REVIEW] “Brimming with magic, lyrical prose, and deeply felt emotion, this is, indeed, essential reading.”
An unlikely friendship based on philosophy develops between an aging academic and a mythological beast. A mysterious, beautiful attendee who attends a ball thrown in her honor chooses whether or not to become mortal. A dysfunctional relationship is not improved by the consequences of lycanthropy. One very brave young mouse questions his identity and redefines feline wiles.
From heartbreaking to humorous, these carefully curated stories by Peter S. Beagle show the depth and power of his incomparable prose and storytelling. Featuring an original introduction from Jane Yolen (Owl Moon) and gorgeous illustrations from Stephanie Pui-Mun Law (Shadowscapes), this elegant collection is a must-have for any fan of classic fantasy.
Beagle (The Overneath) showcases his versatility and ability to entertain even as he challenges expectations in 13 fantasy shorts from throughout his career. While several offerings, including "Lila the Werewolf" (1969) and "Come Lady Death" (1963), stem from Beagle's early years, the majority represent his post-2000 output, demonstrating that his skills have only been refined over the decades. With a tendency toward gentle thoughtfulness and philosophical rumination, tales such as "Professor Gottesman and the Indian Rhinoceros" and "Uncle Chaim and Aunt Rifke and the Angel" prove timeless in their quiet yet profound exploration of Jewish faith, friendship, family, and fellowship. Others, like "The Stickball Witch" and "Four Fables," drift into absurdity or everyday uneasiness, while "We Never Talk About My Brother" looks at the balance between good and evil in a new light. Jane Yolen's introduction helps place Beagle and his work into further context. The result is both an ideal entry point for newcomers, and a lovely way for existing fans to revisit or rediscover old favorites.