The Essential Peter S. Beagle, Volume 1: Lila the Werewolf and Other Stories
by Peter S. Beagle
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Pub Date 16 May 2023 | Archive Date Not set
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 American Gods and The Sandman
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.
A Note From the Publisher
“Master enchanter Peter S. Beagle is best known for his novel The Last Unicorn, a book which has charmed generations of readers. But the briefer enchantments collected in these two volumes also brim with the deepest and truest of his magical powers: with laughter, with wisdom, and with the ineffable pleasure of the imaginary memories he shares. From the gradually refined focus of ‘Professor Gottesman and the Indian Rhinoceros’ to ‘Vanishing’’s crankily slipped-and-skewed perspective, these are visions of an inner world all of us need to visit again and again. Each tale is a spell welcoming our hearts to their real home: wonder.”
—Nisi Shawl, author of Everfair
“Stepping into a Peter Beagle story is like stepping out your front door into an alternate, but entirely logical, world: your girlfriend seems to be a werewolf, the evening news is anchored by the Angel of Death, dreadful poetry is a lethal weapon, and a Berkeley traffic cop has to negotiate a depressed dragon out of an intersection. But then, what else to expect from a wizard of mischief like Beagle? Two perfect volumes that should come with a warning: When you try and go back inside your house, all its rooms will have changed.”
—Laurie R. King, author of The Beekeeper’s Apprentice
“Having all these Peter Beagle stories collected together is pure joy. His writing has amazed me my whole life. You think I’d be used to it by now, but the amazement is ongoing.”
—Carrie Vaughn, author of the Kitty Norville series
“Gleaming gold, these two volumes of glorious stories remind us of what is true, though it might not be real, and of when the world was solid as a Spalding rubber ball and shadowy soft as a cat’s fur, though that time might never have happened, and may not happen again. (But it was, his tales insist. But it will be.) We are fortunate to live in a world where his work exists; if we didn’t, we ourselves might not exist. Such is Beagle's magic.”
—E. Lily Yu, author of On Fragile Waves
“The Essential Peter S. Beagle Volumes 1 & 2 are everything I hoped for and wanted them to be. Beagle’s clever and utterly whimsical storytelling is evident in every story, and I love jumping from tale to tale and exploring the facets of his mind. The writing is fun and explores the unique while keeping one foot in the familiar, making it perfect for readers of all ages. I highly recommend these charming volumes!”
—Charlie N. Holmberg, author of Keeper of Enchanted Rooms
“This was an amazing collection, and I cannot recommend it enough for existing fans of Mr. Beagle or fans of fantasy shorts or cozy fantasy.”
—All Booked Up
“Peter S. Beagle’s short stories tap into the sweetest sap of the soul and leave their mark forever. He always makes me cry in the most wonderful and necessary way.”
—Delilah S. Dawson, author of Wicked As They Come
Selected praise for the short story collections of Peter S. Beagle
“Multiple Hugo and Nebula award-winning Beagle opens readers’ eyes to wonder with his latest collection of 13 short stories. Each piece bridges the rich intersection of fantasy and fairy tale, reality and possibility, exploring predestination, fate, and the power of love through characters that come to vivid, three-dimensional life within a few short pages. Beagle’s lyrical writing is set in a wide range of landscapes both familiar and fresh, with twists on Jack and the Beanstalk, monsters and dragons, a singing enchantress, ghostly photographs, and a modern werewolf tale.” —Library Journal
“Wise, warm and deep.” —The New York Times
“The perfect book.” —Strange Horizons
“Beagle’s true strength in the last few years lies with his short fiction, an area in which he’s been both prolific and brilliant. His latest collection, from Tachyon Publications, showcases the best of his recent output.”—Omnivoracious
“Pure poetry. Beagle is an American bard.” —io9
“Peter S. Beagle [has] rejoined the main flow of literature with a vengeance.... His work is marvelous.” —Green Man Review
“Everything Beagle touches, he makes new. Every sentence he shapes encapsulates a song. This is both a delightful and moving collection.” —Michael Bishop, author of Brittle Innings
“I envy people reading these stories for the first time.” —Lisa Goldstein, author of The Uncertain Places
*Promotion at major trade and genre conventions, including Readercon, the International Convention for the Fantastic in the Arts, the World Science Fiction convention, and the World Fantasy Convention
*Author book launch event, tour, readings, and signings TBD
*Features, interviews, and reviews targeting literary and genre venues, including the Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, NPR, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and San Francisco Chronicle
*Planned galley distribution and book giveaways to include NetGalley, Goodreads, Tor.com, Amazon, and additional online outlets
*Planned Instagram tour and outreach to influencers
*Advertising and promotion in national print, online outlets, and social media
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 14 members
I had enjoyed the Last Unicorn so I was excited to get to know Peter S. Beagle from other works. This was so well done and I enjoyed each story. It had what I enjoyed from the Last Unicorn and I could see why he's such a great writer. I'm glad I was able to read this and was excited to read Volume 2.
"Most of her friends agreed with her, but the poet, whose name was David Lorimond, cried out, “No, my lady, you are wrong! Death lives among the poor. Death lives in the foulest, darkest alleys of this city, in some vile, rat-ridden hovel that smells of—” He stopped here, partly because Lady Neville had indicated her displeasure, and partly because he had never been inside such a hut or thought of wondering what it smelled like. “Death lives among the poor,” he went on, “and comes to visit them every day, for he is their only friend.”
The Essential Peter S. Beagle Volume 1 is a sparkling short story collection spanning an illustrious career, and a long time coming. Beagle’s works are being steadily reissued following a lengthy court battle with his former manager, and we readers are benefitting richly. This spring, Tachyon will publish two volumes of short stories, some collected in previous collections, in rich hardcovers illustrated by Stephanie Law.
I’ve read most of the stories in Volume 1 before, but it’s always a pleasure to revisit them. No matter the subject, whether it’s stickball in the Bronx or wartime in an imaginary kingdom, Beagle’s unique voice can be heard throughout. Not only is Beagle a strong prose stylist with a gift for character and plot, but he also possesses an undeniable storyteller’s voice that makes you want to keep reading no matter the subject.
Each story is a gem. Particular stand-outs for me are “A Dance for Emilia,” “King Pelles the Sure,” “Come Lady Death,” and “Professor Gottesman and the Indian Rhinoceros.”
Highly recommended not only to readers of speculative fiction but anyone who enjoys a tale well-told.
Thank you to Tachyon and NetGalley for providing an electronic reading copy. I’ve also pre-ordered the hardcover for my personal library.
I received an advance copy of this book (and its companion) from the publisher via NetGalley.
Peter Beagle really needs no introduction. He's one of the greats of the fantasy genre, and this book is a clear demonstration of way. I expected this collection to be good, mind you, but I didn't expect it to be such an emotional journey. Every single story is fantastic (not something I can say about many collections or anthologies) but some of them--wow. "Uncle Chaim and Aunt Rifke and the Angel" is up there among my favorite stories of all time with its gentle yet harsh story of an artist, an angel, and sheer goodness. Also profound were "Come Lady Death," "The Stickball Witch," and the astonishing finale, "A Dance for Emilia." I think it's fair to say that, based on Beagle's introductory notes, his stories that tended to touch me the most were the ones that were semiautobiographical for him--drawn from his own life, with a magical twist.
Superb. Just superb.
I've been a long time fan of Beagle's work and this was no exception. Beagle's name is synonymous with the greats of fantasy and does not need an elaborate introduction. I thought I would be prepared for these short stories and just would be able to sit back and enjoy them, but I was severely unprepared for the emotional journey they took me on. I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of his works and look forward to adding them to our library system.
I come to Peter S. Beagle not as a fan of The Last Unicorn, because I've never read it, but instead as someone who has seen other Authors cite Peter S. Beagle as being among the greats. The issue has always been time. When I was given the chance to read his two collections of Short Stories I decided that enough was enough. I had to find out what makes Beagle so unique.
To summarize my feelings I'd say that Beagle is a Writer's writer. The tone instantly sent me back to the types of books you would read in High School. Something so great that it would be read over and over for generations. I was worried at first that all the stories would lean towards being like fairy tales. As I said, I haven't read The Last Unicorn and I came Six years after the movie. If all you know about someone is that they wrote a very popular book about a unicorn you might have apprehensions too. I was surprised, to say the least. What was crazy was that the more modern of the stories of which I would count Lila the Werewolf and El Regalo were the ones I liked the least.
Still, that's not to say I didn't like them. They were all great stories. Every one of them was a masterclass on storytelling. I believe that with the right narrator, these stories would make the comfiest of audiobooks.
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