In Calabria

Peter S. Beagle. Tachyon, $19.95 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-61696-248-7
Acclaimed fantasist Beagle (Summerlong) sets this charming, lyrical tale of unicorns and love on a poor little hillside farm in the toe of boot-shaped Italy, where 47-year-old Claudio Bianchi scratches out a meager existence for himself, old dog Garibaldi, goat Cherubino, three cows, a pig, and three cats. Claudio writes poetry, too, and one day a golden-white unicorn appears to him as a gentle reminder of the freedom animals and humans have lost. The unicorn becomes the one miracle of Claudio’s life—and the ultimate tourist attraction. He protects her as best he can from hordes of reporters, television crews and helicopters, animal rights activists, yearning yokels, and even the Calabrian ’Ndràngheta mob. After Claudio helps the unicorn deliver her colt, his heart, frozen by an earlier tragedy, warms to Giovanna, the intrepid 20-ish sister of the postman. Neatly playing the strictures of Claudio’s simple rural life against the shimmering wildness of the unicorn, Beagle’s kindly fable shows how a man who seems to have nothing can really have everything—with just a touch of magic. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/05/2016
Release date: 02/14/2017
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