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Posted August 30, 2009
Brother's Got a Bit of Everything
Well, different reviewers, different opinions (as Xedra77 so amply proves), but I've got to say that as a long-time Beagle fan, this collection didn't disappoint, and I'd certainly recommend it to new readers hoping to get an idea of the author's style and range before diving into his longer fiction.
Anyone already familiar with Beagle's work should be pleased by the range of themes and voices on offer here, from the Southern folksy first-person of the title story to Sailor Lal's inimitable taletelling in "Chandail." Here you can find a recently completed story from the late '60s (written in much the same tone as the early part of The Last Unicorn, though about a very different subject!), as well as the long-awaited reprint of his poem cycle based on the Unicorn Tapestries. There's also a semi-autobiographical/semi-fantastical account of the author's boyhood in the North Bronx of the 1950s, complete with witchcraft and street sports, and a new Joe Farrell misadventure drenched in that particular brand of strangeness only Avicenna, California has to offer.
And for all you new people out there, this is a chance to encounter one of the great names of fantasy in several different stories that blur the borders between magic and realism, humor and heartache. As introductions go, We Never Talk About My Brother is a good one.
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