Jessica's Reviews > A Fine and Private Place

A Fine and Private Place by Peter S. Beagle
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Sep 03, 09

Read in September, 2009

Backstory: I grew up loving The Last Unicorn, but I had never read any other Beagle till this year. I read The Innkeeper's Song recently, and enjoyed it, though I thought it felt a lot like The Last Unicorn without being as timeless or moving.

A Fine and Private Place is COMPLETELY different. Beagle wrote this at age 19 (though you'd never guess it to read it), and while every once in awhile a turn of phrase struck me as being written by the same author as The Last Unicorn, the parallels begin and end there. This is very firmly a book about humanity, not about magic.

The main character in A Fine and Private Place has lived in a graveyard for the last 19 years. He never felt that he fit into the "real world," so when things at his job fell apart, he moved into a mausoleum and never left the cemetery again. Caught between life and death, unwilling to commit to either one, he discovers that he can see and talk to ghosts, and he befriends them. However, ghosts only stay around and communicate for as long as they can remember what life is like - it turns out most ghosts only last two or three weeks before disappearing entirely. It's a very lonely life - until all at once he meets two ghosts who seem to hang on to their memories of life more tenaciously than others have, and one real live woman.

Ultimately, this is a book about love and fear - about not knowing what you want, or knowing what you want but not believing you'll be able to have it. It's a slow-paced story, but engaging enough that you don't want to put it down for long.
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Larry My favorite P.S. Beagle book.


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