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The Line Between

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  762 ratings  ·  107 reviews
"Peter S. Beagle is (in no particular order) a wonderful writer, a fine human being, and a bandit prince out to steal readers' hearts" —Tad Williams

America's greatest living fantasist returns, with the signature elegance and originality that earned him comparisons to J.R.R, Tolkien, Fritz Leiber, and Kurt Vonnegut. Readers seeking magic and mystery need look no further. In
Kindle Edition, 273 pages
Published November 1st 2015 by Conlan Press (first published January 1st 2006)
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Algernon (Darth Anyan)
There it is : that invisible boundary between conscious and not, between reality and fantasy, between here (whatever “here” is) and there (whatever “there” might be), between the seen and the seen’s true nature. A line neither one thing nor ever quite the other, but now and eternally between.

The purpose of art is not to simply reflect reality, but to reimagine it, to enhance it and to extract its truth and its beauty, from the ordinary to the extraordinary. Peter S Beagle has for me always bee
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent collection. I have no clue why I've put off reading Beagle's short work for so long.

Some highlights:

~ I've always felt there's something liminal about Beagle's writing, elusive and ineffable, and all those other words that teeter on the brink of language. Here, he tells it explicitly:

When my children were still small enough to be suckered (that’s the two youngest, not their older sister; she was never that small), I could keep them occupied in the car for some while by telling
Nov 18, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very literate and quite brilliant collection of Beagle's short fiction. The most popular story is Two Hearts, a return to the world of The Last Unicorn, but there are several other pieces that are equally captivating. Gordon, the Self-Made Cat is a humorous story that will resonate with cat lovers, Mr. Sigerson is a nifty Sherlock Holmes tale, El Regalo, a contemporary urban fantasy, is another very funny one, and A Dance for Emilia, which closes the book, is a profoundly moving examin ...more
Jun 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Peter Beagle's writing is magic put to language, his novels are spell books that enchant the reader, laying dweomers over our vision until we see the world, if not as it is, then as it should be, as a child sees it. Even his works set in another world are really reflections of the simple sorceries possible in this one, given the right mood and willingness to play along. And if that mood isn't upon you, his charm takes you along anyway until your mood cooperates with the fairy-tales he presents.

Mar 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Line Between by Peter S. Beagle, Tachyon Publications, 2006

One pattern I’ve noticed in the writers I tend to come back to again and again—their “voices” tend to be consistent but their subject matter tends to vary. Sure, writers are people—most of them—and they have interests like anyone else, and those motifs tend to repeat. But with the really good writers, they’re going to repeat in ways that make you forget or even never realize that this is what they’re doing. And the subject matter, at

“She loved him too. That's why she let him go.”

The Line Between is a collection of short stories by the author of The Last Unicorn. It is very rare for me to show any interest in short story novels. My sole purpose for reading this particular collection was the inclusion of Two Hearts - A sequel to The Last Unicorn. The short stories found in this book cover quite a large range of genres that it is hard to give this a proper rating. Overall, though, I am sad to say that most stories were rath
Dec 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spec-fiction
Short stories old and new by a classic author who just doesn't write enough. If you young folk have only seen The Last Unicorn in its cartoon form you really need to read the book.

Beagle acknowledges he is "on the books as being a fantasist" but feels that "one of the few really nice things about growing old is that a whole lot of stuff stops mattering...categories among them."

There is a nice sequel to "The Last Unicorn." "Four Fables" are fabulously funny and the preface made me laugh. Fables..
Meredith Enos
i'm so disappointed by this collection. almost all the stories seem like pitches for novels, as in, "hey, you like this story? give me some money and i'll write a whole book!" maybe i'm jaded, but beagle introduces each story and they mostly all go something like, "once i started this story, i knew i would have to make a full-length work about it at some point." a couple of good stand-alone pieces, like "Salt Wine," but the rest were rather too easy and too reliant on other, previously written w ...more
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: speculative
In this collection, we have a mouse who decides to be a cat; four fables about a moth, a T-rex, an octopus, and an ostrich; a return to the worlds of the Last Unicorn and the Inn Keeper's Song; and a young pair of siblings discovering their magical abilities.

It's hard to pinpoint what exactly makes Peter Beagle so special other than oh, everything. He's a beautiful writer, his plots are tight, his characters make perfect sense. His ideas are simple, quirky, random, hilarious, and poignant. I do
Jeffrey E
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book of short stories. Was there any doubt? Even the "silly" story that was included was well crafted. The man knows how to write. ...more
Justyn Rampa
Apr 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was actually the first collection of Peter S. Beagle stories published, but I'm reading it after the two that preceded it. A pretty solid collection with some clear standouts for me and some stories that I struggled with reading.

Gordon, the Self-Made Cat - An incredibly charming story that could easily be the basis for a longer children's novel or a Pixar film!

Two Hearts - The crown jewel of the collection in my opinion. This is the follow-up novella to "The Last Unicorn". Incredibly moving
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Running the gamut from traditional fantasy to Sherlock Holmes to a modern-day brujo (age eight) to the enduring -- even dangerous -- power of love and friendship, this is a superb collection of stories from a master storyteller. They're the clearest proof anyone could want of what a gifted writer can do with even the simplest of ingredients, be it a cat or a love letter, a runaway apprentice or a mermaid, a shapeshifter or a T. Rex. ...more
Samantha Matherne
Beagle has a way of revisiting his old worlds and introducing new ones but always sounding like a grand storyteller. His writing doesn’t read like today’s fantasy but like classic works. In only about 30 pages each for most, the characters of the stories in this book all feel very fleshed out with distinctly visual settings. Reading fantasy that doesn’t always include beautiful royalty or faeries or retold tales is refreshing, and I love always relying on Beagle for that.
زهرا السادات
I love El Regalo. I love stories about family and siblings. All we have now is anything but that. Garbage unreal teenage love and supernatural romance... I'm an older sister with a little brother who drives me nuts, so I could relate to the story on a spiritual level. What was between Angie and Marvyn was... real. And lovely. The beginning reminded me of "Song of the Sea". It was good.
Nov 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What can I say about Peter S. Beagle? He is a writer that never fails to surprise me, because, I don't know why, but whenever I start reading one of his stories, I never expect to like it as much as I end up liking it. It happened with many of the stories in this book. He has a way with words that is only his and it's magical and that's all I'm going to say about it.

I'm going to start with Two Hearts because it was the reason I bought this book. Two Hearts is the sequel to The Last Unicorn and I
This is a collection of his work that contains a short story sequel to Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn called Two Hearts. It takes place several years after the first book, and it is very fitting where Schmendric the Magician and his companion Molly Grue end up (no, it's not what you think! That's the beauty of Peter S. Beagle!). Another good one is "Salt Wine", which is quite tragic. One of those "I told you this was a bad idea" stories.

The stories contained within are a sweet mix of new and
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Peter S. Beagle is the best first-person narrator I have ever read. Doesn't matter what he writes about. This guy simply has it mastered. One cannot help but be drawn under the skin of his speakers. Five of the eight stories in this collection are told in the voice of their unerringly observant protagonists, and I remember each one of them as if they had read their own stories live: Sooz, the plucky waif whose courage stirs King Lir to his last adventure; Soukyan, the thief haunted by his past a ...more
I love Beagle's elegant writing and wonderful characters, and I wasn't disappointed here. I was a little worried about "Two Hearts", which takes place after The Last Unicorn (which I love), but I thought Beagle did justice to the book and its characters, along with introducing a new and engaging character, the young girl Sooz, who narrates the story. I also especially liked "El Regalo" (which Beagle plans to follow up with a novel), about a young witch and his sister, and "Salt Wine", a haunting ...more
"Two Hearts" is an incredible story - the same combination of adventure, joy, and melancholy that made The Last Unicorn the masterpiece that it is. I first read this story in Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine, and bought the book on its strength.

The book's other stories are enjoyable, although most of them aren't gems or showstoppers. The notable exception is "A Dance For Emilia," which paints a powerful portrait of a fantastic person whose life was overshadowed by his knowledge that his dancin
Jul 03, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was disappointed, not by the writing but by the content. I remembered The Last Unicorn as a breath of magic and this book just didn't transport me. Anywhere. I was still in my chair in the doctor's lobby, sadly turning pages. Big sigh. ...more
Mar 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of those collections of short stories that I dragged out for as long as I could because I just didn't want it to end. Hilarious and brilliant, Beagle's writing dances off the page with laugh-out-loud one-liners and characterisation that is utterly captivating. ...more
4.5 stars. A really enjoyable collection. Having only read THE LAST UNICORN and a couple of Beagle’s similarly trope-fantastical stories, I was very happily surprised by the variety of genres and voices Beagle can pull off, from fables that were satirical and quite funny (“Four Fables.” I liked the moral of “The Fable of the Moth” best, but the overall story of “The Fable of the Ostrich”) to a Sherlock Holmes story (“Mr. Sigerson,”) from a seaman who sounds enough out of TREASURE ISLAND to be in ...more
Kenya Starflight
Jul 02, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Peter S. Beagle is one of my favorite authors, and is probably best known for his classic fantasy novel The Last Unicorn. "The Line Between," a short story collection, will probably be most of interest to fans of that novel, as it includes a novella that serves as a long-awaited sequel... but it's also a fantastic sampling of Beagle's work, showing his ability to capture a variety of unique voices and story styles, as well as promising hints of future works.

The stories in this collection are as
They started out strong but tapered off. I've never read The Innkeeper's Song (it's on the list) but "Quarry" was so boring it took me a few hours to read through it; I haven't read The Last Unicorn in ages, but "Two Hearts" was wonderful, especially with its sense of movement and with Sooz's narratorial voice. I loved the tween voice in "El Regalo," too, and the fables in "Four Fables" were actually very funny, especially the Fable of the Tyrannosaurus Rex. "A Dance For Emilia" was just... not ...more
Sep 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once again vindicated in choosing Peter S. Beagle as one of my all time top three favourite fantasy authors, The Line Between is a collection of some glorious short stories, including a worthy epitaph for one of my all time top reads, The Last Unicorn.

Yes Peter, you made me weep again, I will always weep for your words are like a golden bell hung in my heart. I would break my body to pieces to read your writing.

(Barry Hughart, Terry Pratchett and when I was younger, Piers Anthony - yes I know th
Mick  Travel
Oct 22, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Peter S. Beagle's writing. It is slow paced and gentle. His books after the Last Unicorn seem smaller, more domestic. I do have the feeling he is a bit overlooked by people besides the grand books by Tolkien and Gaiman and the likes. And alone for this I need to recommend his books.

This collection of short stories has a nice variety of his writing. And I admid some of the stories are better than others for me. But he is so good at setting up an atmosphere with a couple of words and a worl
Lucy Takeda
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beagle says in the introduction that he struggles in his writing to keep the balance on that line between fantasy and reality. It is why I so love his writing. ( Aside from my lifelong unicorn addiction.) This collection provides outstanding examples of his talent. The commentaries on the stories are fascinating.
There are fables Beagle write decades ago, a sequel to The Last Unicorn, and his stated most biographical story in the set. Cat people will enjoy this; cats feature in three stories , a
A lovely, solid anthology of stories by Peter S. Beagle. His mastery of voice is amazing; I particularly love how every first-person story has a different rhythm & cadence which really conveys the character of the storyteller. I finally also broke down and read Two Hearts, and yeah...I definitely would read more about Sooz!
Generic AF
Jan 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even if this is a story about witchcraft and magic in it's essence it is a very lovely story about a sister and a brother and even if you want to kill them sometimes the universal message of this story is, as Baz Luhrmann put it, "Be nice to your siblings; They are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future." ...more
May 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book for "Two Hearts" but the last three short stories, especially "A Dance for Emilia", floored me. Peter Beagle might be most known for The Last Unicorn but these other written gems deserve recognition. ...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

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“For a while he did consider the possibility that the wandering albatross might conceivably be God. This was an easy notion for an octopus to entertain, since he glimpsed the albatross only when he occasionally slithered ashore in the twilight, to hunt the small crabs that scurried over the sand at that hour. He would look up then—difficult for an octopus—and sometimes catch sight of the great white wings, still as the clouds through which they slanted down the darkening sky. “So alone,” he would think then. “So splendid, and so alone. What other words would suit the nature of divinity?” 1 likes
“No, my friend,” he responded finally. “I am not God, no more than you. But I think you and I are equally part of God as we stand here,” and he swept his arm wide to take in all the slow, dark shiver of the sea as it breathed under the blue and silver morning. “Surely we two are not merely surrounded by this divine splendor—we both belong to it, we are of it, now and for always. How else should it be?” 1 likes
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