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The Line Between Paperback – 9 Jan 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 206 pages
  • Publisher: Tachyon Publications (9 Jan. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1892391368
  • ISBN-13: 978-1892391360
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 807,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


"One of my favorite writers." --Madeleine L'Engle, author, A Wrinkle in Time and A Swiftly Tilting Planet "Peter S. Beagle illuminates with his own particular magic such commonplace matters as ghosts, unicorns, and werewolves." --Ursula K. LeGuin, author, A Wizard of Earthsea and The Left Hand of Darkness "A cornucopia of delights; mark this as a major contender for Collection of the Year." -- Locus Magazine "A wonderful collection...Each story is a gem...Read it for any reason you can find, but read it." --SFRevu "A collection of his recent stories shows Beagle is still a fresh and charming author." -- The Denver Post "Each one of the stories gathered here is aimed directly at the heart." --SF Site "At his best, Peter S. Beagle outshines the moon, the sun, the stars, the entire galaxy." -- The Seattle Times "Everything here is quite wonderful. You will certainly discover your own favorites in The Line Between ." -- Green Man Review

About the Author

Peter S. Beagle is the best-selling author of "The Last Unicorn," which has sold a reported five million copies since its initial publication in 1968. His other novels include "A Fine & Private Place," "The Innkeeper's Song," and "Tamsin." His short fiction has been collected in four volumes by Tachyon Publications, including "The Rhinoceros Who Quoted Nietzsche," "The Line Between," "We Never Talk About My Brother," and "Sleight of Hand." He has won the Hugo, Nebula, Mythopoeic, and Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire awards as well as the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement.

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By chris tardios on 6 Nov. 2014
Format: Paperback
Lovely book
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 20 reviews
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Warm & Winning 4 Aug. 2006
By Richard J. Arndt - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Peter Beagle belongs to that vanishing type of writer whose strengths are in strong characterization rather than plot, although their plots are often quite strong. Writers like the late Theodore Sturgeon, Edgar Pangborn, Mary Pangborn & Avram Davidson. Writers like the still living Algis Budrys, Ed Gorman or, on his better days, Stephen King.

He also doesn't write (or at least, publish) nearly enough. Yet here is a collection of short stories, all fairly recent, and many with their first publication herein.

The lead-off tale is a little charmer about a mouse who decides it's a whole lot better to live as a cat than a mouse, so he goes off to cat school, with some humorous and ironic results. Beagle's note to the story mentions that he hopes to turn this into a children's book in the manner of 'Charlotte's Web'. If so, this is a pretty good start.

The next story, 'Two Hearts' is a sequel to Beagle's best known novel 'The Last Unicorn'. I'm always leary when a writer returns to the world of a major work, years after that work's publication. In this case, it's been 38 years but Beagle pulls it off, returning many of the major characters from that novel and developing a new character that will lead into a new novel. Brillant, warm and hearttouching.

Next up are four fables, dealing with moths, a Tyrannosaurus Rex, ostriches and octopi. Funny stuff. In fact, Beagle is so good at this type of writing that one could easily see a complete book of such fables. Listen up, Mr. Beagle!! The world needs more bluejay stories.

Next is 'El Regalo, which deals with two Korean-American kids and their witchy abilities. Another good story that one can easily see expanded into a complete novel.

'Quarry' is a tasty prequel to Beagle's novel 'The Innkeeper's Song', which tells an early tale of one of that novel's major characters.

'Salt Wine' is the best story in the book (and that's saying something, considering that 'Two Hearts' is here too). An old sailor relates the horrific tale of his shipmate who saves a merman and is granted the merman's most cherished secret, the ability to make salt wine. The gift comes with a horrible price, however, that makes itself known in a quiet, understated fashion. This story ought to be in the running for a number of major awards next year. Very disturbing.

'Mr. Sigerson' is a Sherlock Holmes tale, related by a narrator who doesn't appear to like Mr. Holmes at all. There are tons of Sherlock Holmes knockoff stories out there but this is a good one.

The closer is 'A Dance For Emilia', a warm story of a dead man possessing his own cat so that he can leave one last message for the love of his life. Warm, tender and haunting, in the best sense of the word.

You're gonna love this book. Buy one for yourself and one for your best friend. You'll both be happy you did.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Delightful fantastic fiction -- moving and wise 22 Jan. 2007
By Richard R. Horton - Published on
Format: Paperback
Peter S. Beagle has had a long career and is already a legend for such novels as The Last Unicorn and such short fiction as "Farrell and Lila the Werewolf". But just in the past few years he has produced a string of wonderful shorter works that rank with the best work of his career. This collection includes most of those recent stories, including a few new to 2006, as well as one or two older pieces. Beagle's characters are the heart of his works - thoroughly believable, often a bit battered, often somewhat worldy wise. Though he also depicts much younger characters very well.

The very moving closing story, "A Dance for Emilia", tells of a late-middle-aged actor mourning the death of his childhood friend, a critic, in the company of that friend's young lover, and of his strangely possessed cat. "Two Hearts" is a lovely sequel to The Last Unicorn. "Quarry" is first rate adventure fantasy, with a young man fleeing scary monsters meeting an older man and joining with him, only to face another monster. "Salt Wine", one of my favorites here (though the stories are wonderful throughout - hard to name a favorite) is an absorbing sea story about a sailor and the formula for a special drink he gets from a merman (or merrow), with a sharply pointed moral dimension. "Mr. Sigerson" is a satisfyingly different Sherlock Holmes story, featuring Holmes under the title alias spending time playing violin for a backwoods Central European orchestra - only mysteries to solve find him there as well. "El Regalo" and "Gordon, the Self-Made Cat" are both focused a bit on younger readers - but quite fine for adults - the first about a young Korean-American boy who is a witch, and his long-suffering sister, the second about a mouse who wants to be a cat. We also get "Four Fables", three of them brand new, mostly cynical (though with heart) short pieces about such subjects as a Tyrannosaurus told of the coming asteroid.

What more can I say? There are simply delightful stories - a lovely lovely collection from one of the best contemporary fantasists.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Excellent, excellent, excellent 27 Sept. 2006
By Bill Bridges - Published on
Format: Paperback
The short and sweet: Get this book. If it helps, know that "Two Hearts" won the Hugo award for Best Novelette. If you loved The Last Unicorn (how could you not?), then you must read "Two Hearts." It's also got the story "Quarry," starring my favorite character from The Inkeeper's Song: the fox.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
like fine wine: Beagle's writing keeps improving as he ages 22 Jan. 2008
By Tina Fields - Published on
Format: Paperback
(This review previously appeared in the bulletin of the Mythopoeic Society, [...])

This long-anticipated new collection of short stories by Peter S. Beagle fulfilled this reader's hopes. Readers can see the culmination of a long life of writing distilled here, as his many styles and interests come together in one book rather like an apartment building between the worlds, with each story exploring new quirky characters inhabiting each room, whether temporarily or for generations.

Each story is prefaced by a Beagle-penned paragraph describing how it came into being. Allowing the reader in on its creation in this way adds to the joy and anticipation of entering the story. In particular, the preface to Two Hearts, a short-story sequel to The Last Unicorn, entices and charms, as Beagle explains how he moved from a stance of `a sequel can't, and won't, be done' to getting slowly snookered into writing it by his friend and publicist. How? By enticing Beagle to write one new story based in that world. Once there, of course, four of the main characters happened to show up. Then Beagle fell in love with the new main character, a feisty young woman named Sooz -- so now, an entire novel may be lurking in our future. Hooray! Readers are similarly led to anticipate more stories following the siblings in El Regalo, to be collected in a book entitled "My Stupid Brother Marvin the Witch." Who can resist a title like that?

Other stories in the collection showcase Beagle's wide-ranging ability to combine the magickal with the ordinary, while playing with several literary styles as seen across his earlier work, from his motorcycle travel saga I See By My Outfit to the somewhat tongue-in-cheek Folk of the Air. One can also see the aging man as author of these stories, with the wit and wisdom of a grandfather amusedly musing over his life and the many types of fictional worlds he's entered earlier. "Gordon, the Self-Made Cat" was originally a humorous morality tale for his children while small. "Four Fables" is a paean to his own exposure to serious fables as a child. (He also drops the tantalizing historical tidbit that Aesop was done in...). "Mr. Sigerson" pays homage to Sherlock Holmes. "Quarry" brings back the world of The Innkeeper's Song, in order to answer the question posed to him about how Soukyan originally met his shapeshifting fox companion. Since Beagle had no idea how to answer, he wrote this story to find out. Quarry contains an encounter with houses that are not houses, but something else, something malevolent posing as the familiar in order to lure in the prey... a motif that I must admit I found unforgettable, as it echoes some of my deepest childhood nightmares.

These stories all have a sense of continual discovery and wonder. Even when a tale has a twist to the end like the best-planned mysteries, you get the feeling that Beagle was surprised and delighted by it too. These stories do not feel contrived, but organic, flowering madly where and how they will. And the characters are what drives them. One of my favorites, Salt Wine, is told in the voice of the crusty old sailor Ben Hazeltine, "not some seagoing candy-trews dandy Captain Jack...I can promise you" (p 135), who gets involved in a business deal involving a recipe conned out of a merrow. And the final tale, "A Dance for Emilia," is a magical-realism homage to friends who have passed on too soon.

These are tales no young person could have penned. It takes the wisdom and the pain of years to bring about this sort of poignant appreciation, this combination of gentle love and no-B.S. crankypants humor. It's a beautiful collection, and one that provides thrilling anticipation of more to come. Like Theodore Sturgeon before him, Beagle is proving himself a master bard whose tales use wild rolling imagination to kindle the reader's heart.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Peter S. Beagle: Living National Treasure 12 Feb. 2007
By Noble M. Smith - Published on
Format: Paperback
I hereby nominate Peter S. Beagle as a Living National Treasure. How many of us have laughed and wept and felt goose flesh while reading his stories? And for decades!! The Line Between contains the novella for which Peter won (finally, finally) a Hugo Award. What a treat to see Schmendrick, Molly and King Lir again. Rather than seem like an epilogue to The Last Unicorn, this reads more like a prologue to a new epic story of love and adventure. I can't wait to find out what happens to Sooz when she turns seventeen and gets to use her gift of magic. If I were a king I'd build a special wing at the castle for Sir Peter and give him all the food, wine and song (okay, and women too) his heart desires so he could happily and contentedly write me tales until I'm an old man.

(UPDATE: Since first writing this review Peter won the Nebula award for Two Hearts, the coda to the Last Unicorn included in this collection.)
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