Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Fine and Private Place by Peter S. Beagle

A Fine and Private Place
This classic tale from the author of The Last Unicorn is a journey between the realms of the living and the dead, and a testament to the eternal power of love.Michael Morgan was not ready to die, but his funeral was carried out just the same. Trapped in the dark limbo between life and death as a ghost, he searches for an escape. Instead, he discovers the beautiful Laura...and a love stronger than the boundaries of the grave and the spirit world.

This was definitely a quirky, delightful book that is shockingly perceptive and nuanced for having been written when the author was only nineteen years old.

It’s hard to describe just what genre it fits in, with its touches of fantasy, Gothic sensibilities and incisive character development. Maybe a Gothic literary novel? But never mind its genre. The writing is stellar, really beautiful. The dialogue in particular is written with such an ear for conversation that it makes the characters leap off the page. Especially Ms. Klapper, one of the protagonists. Her New York accent comes right through the pages and into the reader’s ear.

There are some scenes that could have used with a little editing, I feel. Some of them ran a bit too long without really moving the story or character development along, so it would have made the story quicker-paced if they’d been truncated just a teensy bit.

It’s a tough one to recommend because it is so different. It’s fantasy elements are pretty strong (there is even a talking raven) but there is also lots of existential worries in all the characters, so it is hard to know if everyone will like it or not. I enjoy it a lot, so I’ll take the chance and recommend it.

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