Brittany's Reviews > The Last Unicorn

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
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Jan 11, 12

bookshelves: favorites, fantasy
Read from January 01 to 03, 2012

Two books into my "read less fantasy" effort, and I got stranded without a book, until I got this as a gift. I had to read it. And I'm really glad I did. I recently finished reading The Last Unicorn in graphic novel form. I remember reading (and adoring) this book as a child, but I couldn't remember enough to be able to intelligently compare the novel to the graphic novel. Now I can. The graphic novel did an excellent job of communicating the basic plot points. In fact, it did a phenomenal job. I'm not sure how they all managed to fit into such a small space. The novel, as one would expect, has more finely-drawn details and conveys, textually, more of the mood, theme, and atmosphere. (Though I was staggered by how well the artwork in the graphic novel filled this role.)

Simply put, this is a beautiful, wonderfully classic book. Deceptively simple on the surface, Beagle explores themes of identity, desire, and loss. The story is imaginative, well-plotted, and well-paced, and the characters are wonderfully drawn and thoroughly three-dimensional--even the bit players. This book is beautiful, and haunting, and should be on everyone's to-read list. And if you've read it, it should be on your to-reread list in perpetuity.
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Quotes Brittany Liked

Peter S. Beagle
“Great heroes need great sorrows and burdens, or half their greatness goes unnoticed. It is all part of the fairy tale.”
Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn

Peter S. Beagle
“Never run from anything immortal. It attracts their attention. ”
Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn

Peter S. Beagle
“The true secret in being a hero lies in knowing the order of things. The swineherd cannot already be wed to the princess when he embarks on his adventures, nor can the boy knock on the witch's door when she is already away on vacation. The wicked uncle cannot be found out and foiled before he does something wicked. Things must happen when it is time for them to happen. Quests may not simply be abandoned; prophecies may not be left to rot like unpicked fruit; unicorns may go unrescued for a very long time, but not forever. The happy ending cannot come in the middle of the story.”
Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn

Peter S. Beagle
“When I was alive, I believed — as you do — that time was at least as real and solid as myself, and probably more so. I said 'one o'clock' as though I could see it, and 'Monday' as though I could find it on the map; and I let myself be hurried along from minute to minute, day to day, year to year, as though I were actually moving from one place to another. Like everyone else, I lived in a house bricked up with seconds and minutes, weekends and New Year's Days, and I never went outside until I died, because there was no other door. Now I know that I could have walked through the walls. (...) You can strike your own time, and start the count anywhere. When you understand that — then any time at all will be the right time for you.”
Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn

Peter S. Beagle
“A rhinoceros is as ugly as a human being, and it too is going to die, but at least it never thinks that it is beautiful.”
Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn

Peter S. Beagle
“Wonder and love and great sorrow shook Schmendrick the Magician then, and came together inside him and filled him, filled him until he felt himself brimming and flowing with something that was none of these. He did not believe it, but it came to him anyway, as it had touched him twice before and left him more barren than he had been. This time, there was too much of it for him to hold; it spilled through his fingers and toes, welled up equally in his eyes and his hair and the hollows of his shoulders. There was too much to hold — too much ever to use; and still he found himself weeping with the pain of his impossible greed. He thought, or said, or sang, I did not know that I was so empty, to be so full.”
Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn

Peter S. Beagle
“I always say perseverance is nine-tenths of any art — not that it's much help to be nine-tenths an artist, of course.”
Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn

Peter S. Beagle
“Unicorns are not to be forgiven." The magician felt himself growing giddy with jealousy, not only of the touch but of something like a secret that was moving between Molly and the unicorn. "Unicorns are for beginnings," he said, "for innocence and purity, for newness. Unicorns are for young girls."

Molly was stroking the unicorn's throat as timidly as though she were blind. She dried her grimy tears on the white mane. "You don't know much about unicorns," she said.”
Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn

Peter S. Beagle
“As for you and your heart and the things you said and didn't say, she will remember them all when men are fairy tales in books written by rabbits.”
Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn

Peter S. Beagle
“Heroes know that things must happen when it is time for them to happen. A quest may not simply be abandoned; unicorns may go unrescued for a long time, but not forever; a happy ending cannot come in the middle of the story.”
Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn

Peter S. Beagle
“He thought, or said, or sang, I did not know that I was so empty, to be so full.”
Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn

Peter S. Beagle
“- and you are truly human now. You can love, and fear, and forbid things to be what they are, and overact.”
Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn


Reading Progress

01/03/2012 page 189
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