Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Fine And Private Place” as Want to Read:
A Fine And Private Place
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

A Fine And Private Place

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  2,332 ratings  ·  223 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 Laura...a
Paperback, 224 pages
Published 1997 by Souvenir Press, London (first published 1960)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Fine And Private Place, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Fine And Private Place

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Lynne King
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
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
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
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
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
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
raheleh mansoor
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
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
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
Robin Hobb
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
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 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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
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
Mar 08, 2008 Terry rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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.
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
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.
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
2.5 stars. Ok story about a man who's lived in a graveyard in the Bronx for the past 20 years, keeping newly arrived ghosts company and eating food brought to him by a talking raven. It was also a story about the lies we tell ourselves and how hard it can be to face the truth. I felt it suffered from head hopping in the first half (probably due to some sort of omniscient narration, which I never do well with). At times it all seemed rather overwrought - but was that simply a product of being wri ...more
Sep 19, 2010 Suzanne rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Suzanne by: My English teacher, Mr. Petrini
I read this book in Mr. Petrini's English class in High School and I will forever connect them all together.
I think of them often...this book made a tremendous impact on me, and so did Mr. Petrini who, in the midst of Janis Joplin, Vietnam, pot smoking acid-dropping co-teachers,turned on students, 'In a Gadda Da Vida' blaring out of the art classes, knew a quiet, ill-fitting girl, who had a passion for reading and literature that barely saved her life in the midst of SEX DRUGS and ROCK AND ROLL
Karen Mardahl
A sweet little listen with lovely language. Who would believe that you could find love in a graveyard? The idea of a cemetery caught my attention. I loved Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, but this is nothing like that. Except that the protagonist has been living in a mausoleum in the cemetery for 19 years. He cannot bear to go outside into the real world. He talks to ghosts, the newly arrived dead people who, after several weeks fade away because they forget the world and forget themselves. We meet ...more
"The animals outside are rapidly becoming the animals inside" is a beautiful line. It works both ways, too.
Now I want this to be turned into a film or a mini-series starring Martin Freeman as Mr. Rebeck.
Peter S. Beagle's first book (I think), which I read probably 40 years ago. Very good, and made me want to read everything he wrote thereafter (and I have not been disappointed).
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Memory and Dream (Newford, #5)
  • Illusion
  • The Malacia Tapestry
  • Nifft the Lean
  • The Glamour
  • The Phoenix and  the Mirror (Vergil Magus, #1)
  • Silverlock
  • The Stress of Her Regard
  • Don't Open This Book
  • Cold Heaven
  • A Feast Unknown
  • Mythago Wood (Mythago Wood, #1)
  • Aegypt (The Aegypt Cycle, #1)
  • The Forgotten Beasts of Eld
  • The Wood Wife
  • A Red Heart of Memories (Red Heart of Memories, #1)
  • The Night Life of the Gods (Modern Library Paperbacks)
  • The Day of Creation: A Novel
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
More about Peter S. Beagle...
The Last Unicorn (The Last Unicorn, #1) The Last Unicorn Tamsin The Innkeeper's Song Two Hearts (The Last Unicorn, #1.5)

Share This Book

“There are honest people in the world, but only because the devil considers their asking prices ridiculous.” 99 likes
“I'll tell you something. Once I was very fond of a poem by Emily Dickinson or somebody. I only remember one line of it, but it goes, 'The soul selects her own society.' I used to tell it to everybody. Once I quoted it to a friend of mine, and he said, 'Maybe, but the body gets thrown into bed with the goddamnedest people.” 53 likes
More quotes…