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A Fine & Private Place

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,674 Ratings  ·  255 Reviews
This classic, mesmerizing tale from the author of The Last Unicorn is a journey between the realms of the living and the dead, and the eternal power of love.

Michael Morgan was not ready to die, but his funeral was carried out just the same. Trapped in the dark limbo between life and death as a ghost, he searches for an escape. Instead, he discovers the beautiful
Mass Market Paperback, 256 pages
Published December 12th 1975 by Ballantine Books (first published 1960)
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Lynne King
Nov 12, 2015 Lynne King rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
I wonder if a review comes over better this way?

I love going into graveyards and churches. I like looking at the tombstones and the inscriptions and try to imagine what that individual did in his/her life. I then always light a couple of candles in the church. However, I certainly didn’t think that I would thoroughly enjoy a story about a man called Mr Rebeck who lived in a large, sprawling cemetery for nearly twenty years.

What I find remarkable about the
Oh, this book is so wonderful. I kind of hate Peter S. Beagle for having written it when he was NINETEEN YEARS OLD! Is that true?? Is it possible?? I was reading a library copy and it was almost more strength than I possessed not to dog-ear and underline the hell out of it, the writing is just so great. There are so many places I wanted to mark and remember. So. I will be buying my own copy, and maybe some for gifts.

It's a book about a man who has lived for 19 years in a mausoleum of a huge cem
Jul 06, 2014 Nancy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A lonely man lives in a New York cemetery is accompanied by two ghosts and a talking raven. Along the way he learns about life and love. The story is humorous and touching without being overly sentimental. Peter Beagle's simple and straightforward prose makes the story quick and easy to read, yet unforgettable.
Dan Schwent
Aug 11, 2010 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Jonathan Rebeck, a homeless man, lives in a New York cemetery. His companions are a talking raven and two new ghosts. While the ghosts explore the circumstances of their deaths and fall in love, Rebeck meets a widow named Mrs. Klapper. Will Rebeck's feelings for Klapper be enough for him to leave behind his cemetery home?

I bought this for a quarter at a book sale and the story was worth a thousand times that. I was hooked from the moment the talking raven tried stealing the salami in the first c
Feb 24, 2009 A.K. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: speculative-fic
For those who are interested, there is a talking raven and chess with the dead. PETER BEAGLE WROTE THIS AT NINEFUCKINGTEEN. I am not going to get into what I was writing at the tender age of ninefuckingteen. In any case: a book about death and love, unsentimental and full of stunning sweetness. This (along with The Diary of Anne Frank, Breakfast of Champions, & Winesburg Ohio) is a book that makes me start crying in five pages or less. This is not a bad thing. Oh, and Peter S. Beagle can des ...more
Nov 19, 2009 Marvin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This should be a melancholy book with all the talk of death, wasted lives, and lost loves. Yet Peter S. Beagle can inject charm into a pickle and in doing so, lifts this tale into a amazing look at our attempts to find meaning and love. Mr. Rebeck wandered into a cemetery 20 years ago and now lives there avoiding the living and only finding company with the ghosts and a raven. Michael and Laura has recently died but are struggling with both their deaths and their past lives...and their feelings ...more
I really don't know what to say about A Fine and Private Place. It's a sweet, touching ghost story about love, life, death and homelessness. There's a man who's run away from live and spent 19 years living in a graveyard. There's a widow who meets him while visiting her husband's grave. There's a young man ghost who has allegedly been poisoned by his wife. There's a beautiful young woman ghost who was hit by a truck. Add a raven and a really bad night guard (bad as in he doesn't guard well) and ...more
Jul 05, 2011 TheBookSmugglers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Original review posted on The Book Smugglers HERE

A few weeks ago, I read and reviewed Sleight of Hand, my first real introduction to Peter S. Beagle’s writing and I loved it so much I proceeded to add some of his other books to my TBR pile: The Last Unicorn because everybody seems to love it and A Fine and Private Place which came highly recommended by The Other Ana ( I decided to start in chronological order: A Fine and Private Place was Mr Beagle’s first book, published
raheleh mansoor
May 07, 2007 raheleh mansoor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classicwonders
I love "The Last Unicorn"--I've probably re-read it at least half a dozen times. When I saw "A Fine & Private Place" in the bookstore yesterday, a special re-released version of a yet unread Peter Beagle book, I had to get it. I flew through it on a stunning day at the beach. There are a couple of lines in here that were particularly gorgeously crafted and followed me throughout the book. Apt, since it's a book about ghosts and hauntings.

Surprisingly, it doesn't read like a first novel. The
May 30, 2013 Jean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are no happy endings, because nothing ever ends. That (admittedly paraphrased) quote pretty much encapsulates the book, which is sometimes sweetly cynical, and always bittersweetly romantic. Prose that is poetic, with its beautiful and sometimes stark similes and metaphors, without being florid or cloying, and it shocked me how modern it could sound, in its ideas and its love for the city in which it takes place (there were a few tell-tale signs, like talk of the El and the fact that penic ...more
Jan 02, 2011 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is a contemplative book about life, love, and death that follows the interactions between people, ghosts, and a talking raven in a cemetery. I have rather mixed feelings about this book. There is a whole lot of introspective dialogue going on, particularly in the conversations between two ghosts who contemplate who they were when they were living and what it all means to them now that they are dead. It gets very annoying at times, yet some things hit me on such a personal level that I would ...more
Robin Hobb
Feb 24, 2013 Robin Hobb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read A Fine and Private Place in 1970. It was my first introduction to the work of Peter S. Beagle. I was 18 years old. That I can still recall the opening scene so clearly is an indication that this book was a unique experience for me as a reader. I immediately followed this book by reading The Last Unicorn. A Fine and Private Place is a contemporary 'ghost' story set in a cemetary, and The Last Unicorn is a lovely fantasy set in an alternate world. I recommend both of them without rese ...more
Oct 13, 2015 Skye rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: special-ones
Book 2 of the Great Beagle Reread.

Disclaimer: This is going to be an un-apologetically emotional review, because I do not have thoughts about this book, only feelings.

This is Beagle's first published work, it came out when he was 19, which is utterly depressing. Reading this is a bit like watching a toddler pick up a violin and play Mozart.

I wasn't even 19 when I first read it, and it floored me. Now, rather more years later than I'd like to admit, it has exactly the same effect. You'd think som
Ungur Roxana
Aug 29, 2015 Ungur Roxana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy lovers
Recommended to Ungur by: Nobody
Un roman fantastic, care este o poveste de tip realism magic cu stafii,un corb vorbitor şi sarcastic, şi o poveste de dragoste târzie şi intensă, la care se mai adaugă şi dialoguri interesante, un final satisfăcător, o lume imaginară şi şocantă, pe cât de originală. Personal, mi se pare de necrezut că romanul acesta este debutul literar al autorului, scris numai la 19 ani. Romanul este o lectură plăcută dacă îţi place poveştiile fantastice, care conţin stafii, discuţii despre moarte, personaje î ...more
Jun 16, 2009 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, classic
This took some effort to get through. After a few dozen pages, I was feeling restless and bored and trying to figure out what kind of book I was reading. I check the reviews here and discovered that, yes, folks agreed that it moved kinda slow, but that the character development was the be-all of the book and it would, in the end, be worthwhile.

And it was. It would be somewhat superfluous to say that this book is haunting, since it takes place almost completely in a cemetery in the Bronx. (I wa
Oct 30, 2008 Jamie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with the patience to read a slow, well-told ghost story of romance.
Recommended to Jamie by: Margaret Weis
At met Peter Beagle at Dragon*Con in 2007, a real treat because his storytelling and use of language had amazed me in The Last Unicorn. I had seen the movie first, as a kid, and my sister Stacy had played the VHS tape over and over and over again so much that I was convinced I hated the story. But when I later read the book I knew I had discovered a rare, amazing author.

Fast-forward to another author, Margaret Weis, who told me that she had read Peter Beagle's first novel, A Fine and Private Pla
Jul 20, 2009 Rich rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When Peter S. Beagle first came on the scene with this fable about a man living in a cemetary who talks to ghosts and a raven, he was hailed as a new voice and compared with John Updike and Phillip Roth. His follow-up, a non-fiction travelogue about a trip across the U.S. on a motorcyle with a friend helped to build that reputation. The next book was the wonderful "Last Unicorn," and all those critics who hailed him as a wonderful, powerful new voice in literature wrote him off as merely a write ...more
Apr 27, 2015 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The Last Unicorn is one of my favorite books, and I knew that I wanted to read something else by Beagle. I love his writing style. At times, it reminds of me of Neil Gaiman's, but usually, it is a style all his own, simple yet charming and lovely.
The plot line of this novel is unique. A man lives in a cemetery, fed by a raven, and is a companion of the dead. He meets two ghosts named Michael and Laura, a live woman named Mrs. Klapper, and a live man named Campos, and his world changes forever. I
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
2 1/2 stars

It's impressive that Peter Beagle wrote his first novel at the age of nineteen. I'm sorry to say the story doesn't add up to much. He would have done well to indulge more in whimsy and skip the philosophical ramblings. I've read his sweet novel, The Last Unicorn, as well as his picaresque nonfiction book, I See By My Outfit. He has a special gift for the whimsical, and I'm glad he found his strength and stayed true to it in his later books.

In this book I liked the talking raven best
I am infected with life and will die of it in time.

A Fine and Private Place used "ghosts" to explore what it means to live. While many of the philosophical questions posed were ones I'm sure many people have asked themselves, I wasn't ever really fully engaged. There weren't any moments of profound clarity or anything like I've experienced with similar themes. Perhaps it was a matter of my mood and/or current state of being? Despite my lukewarm feelings about it right now, I do plan to read it
Mar 08, 2008 Terry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ann coyle, bruce caster, janet pickel, sue tanner,
I read this book decades ago and loved it. That paperback edition is now brittle as crackers, so I ordered the latest edition to read again. I've already got three books on my "currently reading" list, but started to peek at this one over breakfast one Saturday morning, and couldn't peel myself away before I'd gotten well into it. I am very glad I did Sweet, sad, funny, and wise, "Fine and Private Place" left much more of an impression on me than Beagle's much better-known The Last Unicorn.
Eric Skillman
Aug 21, 2007 Eric Skillman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've tried, but haven't really enjoyed anything else I've read by Peter S. Beagle—my inner 12 year old girl just wasn't strong enough for The Last Unicorn—but something about this book is incredibly affecting. Sad in that makes-you-smile sort of way. One of those books that I would actually be a little nervous to read again, in case in doesn't live up to my memory of it.
Oct 20, 2010 Dawn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I read this in an omnibus of Beagle's work, and was really surprised by how much I liked it. I read the collection mostly for The Last Unicorn, and wasn't expecting much out of this story. But it was sweet, humorous, touching, a fun and lite read altogether. Not at all what I expected, but in a very good way.
Brenda Clough
Jan 09, 2014 Brenda Clough rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very nearly perfect fantasy novel, full of delights and wonders. It is closely akin to the more recent GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaiman, but this is a better novel.
Jan 23, 2016 mollygrue rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3-stars, 2015
What can I say about A Fine and Private Place...

Okay, I'm admittedly coming back and writing this review, like, several months after having read the book, mostly because I wasn't writing reviews then and I am now, and I do remember the book and my feelings well enough to at least adequately explain myself and my rating. Also because a certain friend messaged me saying that she got this book today and that made me want to properly review it........

I absolutely loved the concept behind this book.
Jan 01, 2015 Mona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, most-beloved
I read The Last Unicorn and loved it tremendously. It was possibly one of the most beautiful book ever written.

Thereafter it made me want to read every single book Mr. Beagle has written and so sitting on my shelf now, are all the author's books, and I am glad I finally gave time for this one, from the end to the beginning of a new year.

My thoughts: A Fine & Private Place, another most beautiful book ever written on planet earth. I'm not comparing this to The Last Unicorn, it's incomparabl
Rowan MacBean
Hm... I love Peter S. Beagle's style. I love his ideas and I love the way he puts words together. Logically, I should love everything he writes, right? Well, apparently I don't.

When I started reading A Fine and Private Place, the back cover (which is the summary above) and the first chapter or so really pulled me in. But then it slowed down and stayed slow. Hopelessly slow. It took me forever to read because I'd curl up with it and there was nothing to keep me awake. In 260-something pages, pret
Mike (the Paladin)
This is a book that is more about "the experience" than about the story or a plot. This works sometimes, but not too often (for me at least. I see many truly did enjoy this book.). The only book that jumps to mind for me (that I actually enjoyed that is) that accomplished this would be, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. I found A Fine and Private Place mostly rather tedious.

The book is an emotional little stroll through the "death" or possibly The "after life" of Michael Morgan and the other d
Marlee Pinsker
Dec 21, 2010 Marlee Pinsker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 18, 2014 Benjamin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Wow, this is an oldie. Written in 1960, a full eight years before The Last Unicorn, this is Peter Beagle's debut novel. It's a short, quiet, introspective little book about two ghosts, a man who lives in a cemetery, and a cynical, talking raven. There is a great deal of examination about issues of death, dying, and living by those on both sides of the great divide. Perhaps worth a look if you're a fan of Beagle.

Rating: 7.5/10.
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Peter Soyer Beagle (born April 20, 1939) is an American fantasist and author of novels, nonfiction, and screenplays. He is also a talented guitarist and folk singer. He wrote his first novel, A Fine and Private Place , when he was only 19 years old. Today he is best known as the author of The Last Unicorn, which routinely polls as one of the top ten fantasy novels of all time, and at least two of ...more
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