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We Never Talk About My Brother

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4.03  ·  Rating details ·  799 ratings  ·  121 reviews
"At his best, Peter S. Beagle outshines the moon, the sun, the stars, the entire galaxy," —Seattle Times

The nine extraordinary stories in this Peter S. Beagle fantasy collection are profound explorations of love, death, transformation, and the choices that define just who and what we are. Ranging from an artist's loft in 1950s New York to the lacquered hallways of a feud
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Kindle Edition, 265 pages
Published November 1st 2015 by Conlan Press (first published March 15th 2009)
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Kalin
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another strong collection, and another proof that in true fantasy, nothing you've experienced so far can prepare you for what is waiting round the corner, past the next bend of the road.

~ How does one make art? Let "Uncle Chaim and Aunt Rifke and the Angel" illuminate us:

The blue angel was indeed waiting when Uncle Chaim arrived in the studio early the next morning. She had even made coffee in his ancient glass percolator, and was offended when he informed her that it was as thin as rain and tas
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Kara Babcock
I have never read anything else by Peter S. Beagle.

Just want to make that clear, since I know that in some corners of the fantasyscape, he is a Big Deal. He’s Known. Renowned, even. So this little collection of short stories of his was probably met with squeals of glee from fans the world over when it was published (back in 2009, because I am 6 years behind on my to-read list these days). I was not one of those people.

But I might be, some day.

We Never Talk About My Brother starts off on a very g
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Laura
Inside the cover of Peter S. Beagle's short story collection We Never Talk About My Brother, there are various quotes praising his other works and his writing in general. The review by Booklist caught my eye:

"Perhaps Beagle is incapable of genuinely dark fantasy, but...."

Although Booklist goes on to give the book (The Line Between) a good review, this sentence nagged at me while I was reading "We Never Talk". The impression it left was that Booklist believes that dark fantasy=good fantasy and th
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Deborah
Apr 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This one just left me breathless. A collection of perfect little stories, all in different realities and all in different voices: from a nasty tv news anchor who may be the angel of death to a shapeshifting wife in Samurai Japan to a glorious retelling of Titania and the mortal man she falls in love with, there is simply nothing in here that doesn't just floor me.

As usual, Peter is amazing. Highly, highly recced.
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Micha
As a fan of Mr. Beagle's work since childhood, I am most definitely a biased reader of his words. However, I think of all the works of his I've read, THIS is the one that holds its own the strongest and passes Mr. Beagle into the realm of not just a good author or an exceptional fantasy writer, but as a truly talented, SUPERB author.
I once wrote a paper about him as being one of the truly good American authors we had to survive in the literary world, a paper which I am certain my teachers scof
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le-trombone
Another terrific collection of short stories from Peter Beagle.

“Uncle Chaim and Aunt Rifke and the Angel” – art and the philosophy of art, a discussion that takes a turn when an angel arrives and insists that its portrait be painted.

“We Never Talk About My Brother” – the true relationship between the anchorman and the news.

“The Tale of Junko and Sayuri” – the commoner who serves in his lord's castle marries a shape-changer who sees his ambition.

“King Pelles the Sure” – "Once there was a king who
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Diane
This book, which includes eight short stories and a poem, is really one of the best story collections that I've ever read. There is really not a dull or drab story in the bunch. Every story in this collection is fantastical, beautiful and marvelous. The writing is supurb, the settings are colorful and varied, and the characters come alive.

Before now, the only other book that I had read by this author was The Last Unicorn, which I loved. Now, having read this, I declare myself a fan of Peter S.
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Jagrid
May 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
A wonderful, wonderful collection of stories. Beagle's best.

Uncle Chaim and Aunt Rifke and the Angel is a lovely, sad, happy story told through the eyes of a ten year old boy. One day, as he's sitting in the studio watching his Uncle Chaim paint, an angel arrives and informs Chaim that she's to be his muse and he will from that day on paint only her.

What follows is a harrowing tale as Chaim becomes obsessed, drawing further and further away from the world until only the angel matters.


If blacknes
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Amanda
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The stories in this collection are inventive, engaging, and always striving to tell us something about our own hearts. The Unicorn Tapestry poem wasn't very good, and the story Spook was meh (maybe I think Beagle should steer clear of poetry regardless of whether it's meant to be good or bad). The others I sped through rather quickly and enjoyed. ...more
Margaret
I'm not much of a short story fan usually, but Peter Beagle is an exception to that tendency. I look forward to a new short story collection of his just as much as I would to a new novel, and I wasn't disappointed in this one. It's perhaps not quite as strong as The Line Between (which has the wonderful followup to The Last Unicorn, "Two Hearts"), but it's excellent all the same.

One of the things I love about Beagle is his ability to write fluently in vastly different narrative voices, which is
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Helix
Oh, this is such a literary oasis, precious beyond description. I have never heard nor read Beagle's works before, I must confess, but I absolutely adored his intricacies, his witticisms, his wisdom. It is entirely appropriate that one of the stories contained in this book was titled The Unicorn Tapestries--based on actual tapestries by the same name--because that perfectly describes the entire feel of the book (and it really should have been the title, although maybe it's just too similar to Th ...more
Onewooga
Mar 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I LOVE Peter S. Beagle's work. The only thing that keeps this book from a five star rating is a combination of the fact that I'm not a huge short story fan, and two, there are a few stories in here that I didn't like as well, so the book seems a little uneven. That being said, the first two stories are marvelous. So marvelous that I read the first story to my husband, whether he liked it or not (he liked it). A definite good read. ...more
Stacey
Had to mark this anthology, though I've only (so far) read the stories that previously debuted in Strange Roads, a chapbook collaboration published with artist Lisa Snellings. The two stories: Uncle Chaim and Aunt Rifke and the Angel is an amazing story of compulsion and compassion. The story Spook, about a very unusual duel, fought for the prize of a home, made me giggle with glee. HIGHLY recommended just for those two stories. ...more
Standback
A superb collection of Beagle stories, showcasing his imagination and his immense versatility.

While few of these stories are absolute must-reads, each one of them is excellent, fresh, and intriguing - each in its own way. There's an urban Jewish fantasy, a metaphysical duel in sibling rivaly, an Eastern-flavored legend, and a surrealistic tale of an average librarian mysteriously becoming French. Each is excellent. Highly recommended.
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Eamonn Murphy
Jun 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We Never Talk About My Brother’ is the title story of this anthology by Peter S. Beagle. Some of the other stories herein include ‘Uncle Chaim, Aunt Rifke And The Angel’, ‘The Tale OF JUNKO AND Sayuri’, ‘King Pelles The Sure’ and ‘The Last And Only, Or Mr Moscowitz Becomes French’ all of which also appear in ‘Mirror Kingdoms: The Best Of Peter S. Beagle’, which I have already reviewed this month. I didn’t mention the story about a chap becoming French in that review but, while good, it is slight ...more
Natalie
I may get slapped for this opener...

I read this short story collection before I read The Last Unicorn.

I think I should let you all know that The Last Unicorn did not blow me away at all.


description
I know, I know. I'm a terrible human being.

I did, however, adore We Never Talk about My Brother.
It has managed to sneak its way into my top five favorite short story collections of all time (admittedly that is not actually a real thing - my top five lists usually have about thirty).

What I love most about a wel
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Jessie (Zombie_likes_cake)
"The Last Unicorn" is a very special book and movie to me, I know, not the most unique choice as I know many people love the story, but for me it goes deep. A lot of my love for it has to do with the writing. Beagle's writing is spectacular that I was fully aware of, as a matter of fact I have a quote from TLU tattooed on my skin. But I had no idea how versatile his style is, this collection proves that. The beautiful and melancholically poetic voice I was used is here but also so many other voi ...more
Deb Whittam
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has been on my want to read list for a while and I’m going to make a big statement here, the first short story, Uncle Chaim and Aunt Rifke and the Angel, was probably the best written story I have ever read. This was not only expertly written but so mesmerizing that I was completely absorbed and the even better, the ending didn’t disappoint. I loved it.

Other tales in the book perhaps weren’t as good but it didn’t really matter, Peter Beagle has a way of taking an old concept and rework
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Cristina
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
I loved this. Its been sitting around for years, library booksale purchase. I'd been avoiding it because it had a "Science Fiction" sticker on the spine from the library. It was not what I term science fiction. It was more like fantasy, or twilight zon-ish stories. Normal life, with one weird thing going on. It was a short story collection, set in various times and places. I think only one was actually set in a totally fantasy world. But angels, ghosts and fairys exist in this author's world. Th ...more
Christine
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
"But it is a curious thing, how certain horrors are so vastly horrible to think about that they simply do not take hold on your imagination at the time, but go almost unnoticed - sooner or later to wake you screaming, surely, but not now."

Given my previous reads by Peter S. Beagle (most notably The Last Unicorn), I was expecting this to be a more fantasy-heavy compilation, but the stories included here are quite mixed and show a wide range of types and genres. I liked all of the stories and real
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Marissa
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
It's cheating, a bit, for me to count this towards my pages read in 2017, since many of these stories were reprinted in Mirror Kingdoms: The Best of Peter S. Beagle, and I didn't reread them when I picked up this book.

Look, Beagle is probably the master of this form; I don't think that's up for debate. But Mirror Kingdoms is the better collection of stories, and the overlap is so great that my only recommendation is to pick that one up and leave this one alone.
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Hannah
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful collection of short stories, all the stories are good in their own right but very different from each other. Something really different. I must have enjoyed it because I had already bought a second copy for a friend before I finished it!

My favourites were probably "Uncle Chaim and Aunt Rifke and the Angel", "By Moonlight" and "We Never Talk About My Brother".
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Mirjam
What a delightful collection of short stories! Beagle is at home in all genres, apparently. I love his writing style; it's so gentle. And the stories are funny, poignant, relevant, sad, and haunting all at once. I knew from the summary that I'd love this book, but I didn't know just how much I'd enjoy it. I loved the explanatory author's notes at the beginning of each chapter too. ...more
Kathy
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don't even like short stories. Peter Beagle has captured the magic that makes stories worth reading and, in spite of how some want to call his writing fantasy he touched way too close to home on how it feels to be me. Thanks, Peter, for writing from your heart. ...more
Jessica Rose
Hit and miss. The last tale in the collection might be one of the most compelling tales I’ve ever read. Described so well I think I lived it and so real and unreal at the same time it kind of beggars imagination that it doesn’t exist.
Lucy Takeda
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this collection captivating. It’s kind of a world tour: France, England/Faerie, California, New York. The characters are compelling; Oberon, Titania, an old lady “witch,” an “Angel of Death.” Read this!
Graham
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Uncle Chaim and Aunt Rifke and the Angel" (read many years previous to the rest of this wonderful collection) might be my favorite short story of all time. ...more
Cori Thomas
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent anthology. It is exciting to see some of my favorite characters and meet new ones. Highly recommend for fun laughs and even sorrow. Each story different and completely Beagle.
Sarah
Feb 13, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A reasonably interesting anthology of stories. I didn't love any of the stories, but I quite enjoyed some of them and would probably reread them. ...more
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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

News & Interviews

  As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of...
10 likes · 3 comments
“Envy nobody. It is the true secret of happiness, or at least the only one I know. (By Moonlight)” 21 likes
“The woman I loved died because I did not love her enough - what greater sin is there than that?"
(Uncle Chaim and Aunt Fifke and the Angel)”
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