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Peter S. Beagle returns with an inspired collection of new fantasy that showcases his incomparable mastery and range. In these tales?with settings as different as an impossible reconstruction of the Berlin Wall and the kitchen of Mrs. Eunice Giant (72 Fairweather Lane, East-of-the-Bean, Sussex Overhead)?warriors, monsters, and utterly ordinary people struggle with possession and forgiveness, life and love, hate and death...and the choices that come after ...
Peter S. Beagle returns with an inspired collection of new fantasy that showcases his incomparable mastery and range. In these tales—with settings as different as an impossible reconstruction of the Berlin Wall and the kitchen of Mrs. Eunice Giant (72 Fairweather Lane, East-of-the-Bean, Sussex Overhead)—warriors, monsters, and utterly ordinary people struggle with possession and forgiveness, life and love, hate and death...and the choices that come after everything else has been stripped away by Fate. Inside these pages:
—The daughter of the Shark God leaves her Pacific island home, determined to find her mysterious father and hold him accountable for the curse of her own existence.
—A dilapidated dragon, a frustrated cop, and an unapologetic author square off over a dangerously abandoned narrative.
—An enchantress-to-be sings of power, desire, and the ultimate betrayal of her heart.
—In a nothing diner, in a nowhere town, a woman lost in grief learns how to fool Death with one artful shuffle of the deck.
Featuring a brand-new Schmendrick tale set before The Last Unicorn, plus twelve other wonderful stories, Sleight of Hand is suffused with a luminous misdirection that moves the soul as much as it fools the eye. Always ready to delight his readers, Beagle proves yet again that he is a master magician.
“Wise, warm and deep.”
—The New York Times
“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.”
—Washington Post Book World
“This 13-story anthology will entice even the most jaded reader to read long hours into the night.... Sleight of Hand will beguile and enchant.”
—New York Journal of Books
“Beagle still has the power to surprise...a new collection of stories by one of the all-time greats.”
“Sleight of Hand is a strong collection by an author whose skill has only improved with time...a must-have.”
“Few can match [Beagle] when it comes to a particular mix of the fantastic and the ordinary, with a tinge of nostalgia. As one character observes, the magic is in the telling, always.”
“After reading Sleight of Hand, I know exactly why Beagle has this mythic reputation as one of the best of the best in fantasy and science-fiction literary circles. The man is amazing. Nearly every story in this collection was like a spell.”
“Demonstrates yet again why [Beagle’s] perhaps the finest fantasy writer at short lengths working today.”
“...not only one of our greatest fantasists, but one of our greatest writers, a magic realist worthy of consideration with such writers as Marquez, Allende, and even Borges.”
—The American Culture
“Engaging and wide-ranging selection of fantasies...the perfect book”
“There’s quiet power here, and delicate craftsmanship, and most of all, a genuine emotional response that few short-story collections can generate.”
—Green Man Review
"Peter S. Beagle is the magician we all apprenticed ourselves to."
—Lisa Goldstein, author, The Red Magician
The Woman Who Married the Man in the Moon (a Schmendrick story)
Sleight of Hand
The Children of the Shark God
The Best Worst Monster
What Tune the Enchantress Plays
La Lune T’Attend
Up the Down Beanstalk: A Wife Remembers
The Rock in the Park
The Rabbi’s Hobby
Oakland Dragon Blues
The Bridge Partner
Posted March 13, 2011
This anthology contains thirteen fascinating "family" fantasies in which three have not been published before; one was released as a podcast; and the remaining released in the last four years. The collection is terrific though my personal favorite is "The Rock In The Park" from (the Green Man Review podcast) as Montefiore, Gun Hill Road, Jerome Avenue (with the el) and Van Cortland remind me of growing up in a more mundane household in the 1950sand 1960s in the Bronx. I suggest reading back to back the whimsical title tale in which nurturing love is the strongest magical bond and its counterweight of smothering magical love is its only equal in "What Tune the Enchantress Plays". Other super strong entries include the dark crime thriller "The Bridge Partner", the aftermath of Jack's homicide in "Up The Down Beanstalk" and "The Rabbi's Hobby" as a child and his Rabbi notice a woman appearing magazine photos from decades ago. Whether it is New York, Hawaii ("The Children Of The Shark God") or "Oakland Dagon Blues (in which Mr. Beagle co-stars), these are all winners; topped off by the opening act of Schmendrick prior to The Last Unicorn in "The Woman Who Married The Man In The Moon".
Posted May 25, 2011
No text was provided for this review.