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Archive for January 2019

Reading Notes: The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle (1968)

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There’s something about fantasy that begs for allegory. And when the allegory is difficult to pin down … one wonders what the fantasy was for. (But, alternatively, when the allegory is too easily mapped, one tires of the well-trod path.) The Last Unicorn feels like a fantasy without allegory–and, perhaps, without the well-honed archetypes too. It’s more of a long fable with a loose “moral of the story”–namely, that one must face their fears or else be driven and owned by them.

Readers a generation younger than I am tell me that they love the book because they loved the movie. I don’t think I’ve seen the movie. But I do not love the book. The characters of the book never quite capture me–it’s hard to love or hate any of them. In fact, I don’t think there is a central character in the story. It opens with a unicorn, but it closes with a maid and a wizard.

It’s chief beauty, in my opinion, is the image of the white-capped waves crashing on the beach–& these an eternity of unicorns captured by a tumult of fear. It’s hard to know, however, why anyone wants them set free.

Written by Jere

January 21, 2019 at 4:30 pm

Posted in Reading