cover image Sleight of Hand

Sleight of Hand

Peter S. Beagle, Tachyon, $14.95 trade paper (326p) ISBN 978-1-61696-004-9

This bittersweet collection of 13 recent stories pays tribute to the complicated power of family ties. "Sleight of Hand" lauds the good magic of parental love, while "What Tune the Enchantress Plays" shows its dark side. "Children of the Shark God" addresses children's influence on parents, and in "La Lune T'Attend" a grandfather protects his descendants from the family's longtime enemy. Slighter but still entertaining are "Up the Down Beanstalk," the nostalgia-heavy "The Rabbi's Hobby" (Brighton Beach Memoirs with magic), and "Oakland Dragon Blues," whose title character deserves better than his pat ending. The surprise hit of the collection is "The Bridge Partner," psychological horror in the best Twilight Zone tradition. Fans of The Last Unicorn will also appreciate "The Woman Who Married the Man in the Moon," a Schmendrick prequel in classic bittersweet Beagle style. (Apr.)