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In Calabria

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  1,724 ratings  ·  340 reviews
From the acclaimed author of The Last Unicorn comes a new, exquisitely-told unicorn fable for the modern age.

Claudio Bianchi has lived alone for many years on a hillside in Southern Italy’s scenic Calabria. Set in his ways and suspicious of outsiders, Claudio has always resisted change, preferring farming and writing poetry. But one chilly morning, as though from a dream,
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published February 14th 2017 by Tachyon Publications (first published January 2017)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  1,724 ratings  ·  340 reviews

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Spencer Orey
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The miraculous effect a unicorn can have on a life!

This was a surprisingly tender book.

I love the idea that when a unicorn shows up in your life, it brings out the absolute best in you. Truly beautiful here, and more accessible in a way than the fantasy setting of the Last Unicorn.

It's another very focused fantasy book though, which I really appreciated. This one almost never leaves the space of a small farm.

I'm honestly not sure about a few things in it (the representation of Italy and Calabri
Nov 03, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5ish stars.

Wistful and lovely in a lot of ways. The man knows his unicorns. I immediately felt for Claudio, older than his 47 years (it felt like he was 85), and I would totally live on that farm. His relationship with La Signora is beautiful and the book really shines when it's just the two of them and the farm animals. Once the people come in (humans ruin everything), the book crashes back down to earth and becomes much less exciting. Overall simple, sweet and enjoyable.
Althea Ann
May 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Claudio Bianchi is a rural Italian who's gone out of his way to assure his solitude. He hangs out with his dog and his goat, and his social contact is often limited to the mailman who drops off the junk adverts. But then, one day, a unicorn appears on his land. Bianchi, a secret poet, is perhaps the ideal type of person to appreciate the magical beast with his combination of rustic earthiness and appreciation of beauty. He wants to keep the creature's secrets and to help as he can with what she ...more
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
You need to let a unicorn come into your life. If you don’t have one handy, Peter S Beagle can provide you with the basic kit for finding and caring for a supernatural beast of wonder.

He knew something of sorrow, remembered joy, and devoutly hoped – as much as he consciously hoped for anything other than proper allotments of sunshine and rainfall – never again to encounter either of those two old annoyances. Asked, he would have grumbled, “Sono Contento,” if he bothered to respond to such int
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

With the deft touch of a master storyteller, Peter S. Beagle weaves a strong thread of mythology into this gorgeous and emotional tale about love, sacrifice, and courage. Reading In Calabria is like stepping through a veil and into a dream, crossing into that secret and magical place where everyday life comes face to face with the fantastical. It’s an unforgettable, stunning experience.

In a small village nestled in the pea
Hmm. I'm having a hard time deciding on a rating with this novel (more like a novella in length).

Claudio Bianchi owns a farm in the small Italian village of Calabria. He's grumpy, likes his privacy, and writes poems he shares with no one. In his late forties, his only friend is a young postman who comes a few times a week to deliver the mail. Oh, and his goat. Two things converge to break his comforting privacy: a pregnant unicorn appears on his farm, and the postman's younger sister starts deli
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Calabria is a story about redemption through love, and second chances, and, yes, unicorns. But don't go in just for the unicorns.

I think my reading notes will give you an idea why.

~ Before we look at the unicorn proper, let us regard a monster:

The monster crowded gracefully past Bianchi to crane farther under the old tractor’s hood. He brushed the long ash from his cigar tip with a tap of his little finger, and it in turn brushed Bianchi’s hand as it fell into the engine. “Impacciato, goffo!
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like most people who are able to read and enjoy fantasy, I have a tremendous amount of respect for Peter S. Beagle. That's not to say I'm a real fan, however; he's a remarkable writer, and uses language like a virtuoso uses a violin, but I've just never warmed to him.

And In Calabria is a perfect example of why. It's a beautiful book. The characters are marvelous. The intrusion of the rare and beautiful into the life of a reclusive and misanthropic man is intense and utterly real.

But, for me, t
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Received to review via Netgalley; publication date 14th February 2017

In Calabria is a quiet sort of story. It has dramatic moments, certainly, but those weren’t what will stick in my mind in the slightest. What will stick in my mind is Claudio’s quiet care for the unicorn, his moments of inspiration, and his love for Giovanna. He opens up, going from old curmudgeon with a heart of gold to a man who loves, who is brave, who will put himself on the line — and it’s because of the unicorn.

It’s easy
Olga Godim
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-scifi
4.5 stars
Unicorns come to Calabria. Not once upon a time in an imaginary land, but now, in the 21st century, a beautiful unicorn comes to a run-down farm on a hillside in Calabria, South Italy, and settles in. The farm owner, a lonely hopeless man, shuns the technology of his times. He ekes out his meager existence from the land and takes care of his few animals, when he witnesses the miracle of the unicorn. The strange, un-earthy creature gives a new meaning to his life, opens his eyes and his
The Captain
May 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: horses
Ahoy there me mateys! I received this fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . .

So did ye know that Peter S. Beagle has written another awesome unicorn tale? Well, now ye do. If ye don't know who Peter S. Beagle is then go and find a copy of the last unicorn and read it immediately; it's one of the best books of all time. Then watch the animated movie for good measure. So when I saw that there was another unicorn tale, I had to read it.

I foun
Feb 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, net-galley
A short book, but not exactly a quick read, Beagle's second new book in less than a year has some familiar themes (the transience of immortal beings, their impact on humans, how love shapes people) and a completely new setting. I think that this book NEEDED to be set in Calabria, a remote part of Italy where our main character lives much as his forebears did for generations, and in doing so, the setting absolutely became one of the most important characters in the book.

I was pleased with the st
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-book, 2016, netgalley
This is really more like 3.5 but I'm rounding up since I like Beagle's work in general.

This isn't quite as polished and cohesive a work as his Summerlong, which I read earlier this year.

Most of it works together very well - it's a simple, quiet tale about a cranky, reclusive man who has to adjust to a lot of extra social interaction after a unicorn takes up residence on his remote farm.

But... this quiet tale is somewhat marred by some suspenseful action towards the end of the book. Those frene
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was ok
The language is exquisite, the exoticization of Calabria isn't. And I'm creeped out by the frequency with which Beagle writes romance between elderly men and very young women.
Debbie Notkin
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've had this on my phone for months and months. I don't read much on my phone at the best of times, and when I rarely leave the house, it gets worse. But I had some time outside of a coffee shop, and had forgotten to bring my current book, so I finally got to finish this one.

It's an absolutely delightful story of a crusty old Italian farmer, a loner who is entirely happy with his animals -- and what happens to his life when a unicorn chooses his farm for her own complex and cataclysmic purpose
Newly Wardell
Jan 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Different story about unicorns. Curmudgeon farmer life is changed when a unicorn builds a nest on his property. Not bad
Maggie Gordon
Oh Peter S Beagle... once again you have written a story that normally I would have no interest in and managed to make me love it.

In Calabria is about unicorns, so fans of The Last Unicorn will probably jump on it. However, I should warn readers that the two books are quite different. The Last Unicorn is a more traditional fantasy, and In Calabria is a magic realism story where unicorns most certainly exist, but the world is ours with little bit of magic. That being said, it's still an excellen
Sarah (CoolCurryBooks)
As a new unicorn story by the acclaimed Peter S. Beagle, I had high expectations for In Calabria. Unfortunately, this novella didn’t do much for me.

For many years, Claudio Bianchi has lived alone on his farm in Southern Italy, writing poetry and tending to his three cows and other animals. Then one morning, he discovers a unicorn has arrived at his farm. The arrival of the unicorn will change Claudio’s life forever.

The focus of In Calabria is Claudio Bianchi. He’s cut himself off from other peop
3.5 stars - Metaphorosis Reviews

Claudio Bianchi is a grumpy, lonely farmer and poet, whose only visitor is Romano Muscari, the mailman. Until suddenly a unicorn turns up on the farm, involving Bianchi, Muscari, and Muscari's gentle sister in situations they'd never imagined.

Peter S. Beagle seems to have a thing for unicorns. There's his most famous book, The Last Unicorn, and a handful of others. Now, In Calabria brings the unicorns back again.

There's nothing really new here; we've seen this sam
Nana Spark
Well, that was a disappointment.

The first half was great but as soon as that little percentage bar said "51%" this story went downhill, fast, with it's stupid forbidden romance plot and unnecessary tension.

And that ending! It made no fucking sense!

Like I get Beagle has a thing for making unicorns holier-than-thou in his writing, but that ending was basically a slap in the face saying: "I think Unicorns are cool. So I'm going to talk 'em up pretentiously for the next 20 pages instead of ending t
Apr 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-reads-2017
Great things come in small packages! Don't go in expecting straight fantasy, even vaguely in the realm of the author's classic 'The Last Unicorn.' Here is something quite different. This subtle and lyrical short novel is so many things: magical and ordinary, simple and profound, rough and loving, mysterious and frank. Mr. Beagle lays down such bare emotion that you cannot help but savor his story, characters, and writing. I'd especially recommend for readers who have experienced some of life's h ...more
Sam Musher
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, adult-read
Ugh, you too, Peter? (view spoiler) ...more
May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
You know a dude wrote the book when the woman 23 years younger than the man initiates a sexual relationship. Other than that, I enjoyed the book. Good beach read.
Charles Edwards-Freshwater
Sep 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
A sweet, wholesome story about a man who owns a farm and then one day finds a pregnant unicorn on his land.

It's a very atmospheric tale, and while the story itself is certainly nothing to write home about, the writing and the evocation of the place is very beautiful. Plus, who doesn't love unicorns? It's a perfect little pick me up for when you want to read something that will make you smile.

Plus, there's a sassy goat called Cherubino. Can't really go wrong with that.

3.5/4 stars
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: caro

In Calabria
By Peter S. Beagle
ISBN: 9781616962487
Author Website:
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Caro


From the acclaimed author of The Last Unicorn comes a new, exquisitely-told unicorn fable for the modern age.

Claudio Bianchi has lived alone for many years on a hillside in Southern Italy’s scenic Calabria. Set in his ways and suspicious of outsiders, Claudio has always resisted change, preferring farming and writing poetr
May 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
Once again, I find myself wishing that we could rate things with half stars. I would give this novella a 2.5 but definitely wouldn't round it up to three.

There's a clear character arc, and I like the setting, but it's so incredibly dull that I kept reading just to see if anything could interest me. It didn't, really. The beginning is promising. Grumpy man Bianchi isolates himself and pretends not to write poetry until a unicorn comes to his farm to give birth. If the story had been more about th
Rachel Sample
Feb 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Usually May-December romances don't bother me, but this one made me a little uncomfortable. Maybe it was because Bianchi kept thinking about how he had watched Giovanna grow up, or maybe it was simply because the two characters lacked chemistry; either way, the romance felt out of place and awkward.
It's a shame, really, because the parts of the story that involve the unicorn and the farm animals were well-written and enjoyable.
I liked the beginning well enough, when Bianchi was a poetry-writing
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
A farmer's prosaic, solitary life is disrupted by the appearance of a unicorn. Beagle has a phenomenal eye for "it is not the same thing, of course, but still it is"--for moments where the specific meets the metaphorical, imprecisely but profoundly. The plot doesn't always live up to that--the intrusion of the modern world is intentional but still unwelcome and makes for a literal, overlarge conflict; the romance fares somewhat better--but there's an abundance of beautiful scenes and the end is ...more
A short quick read. I liked it, but didn't love it. Somehow the reality of the modern day setting interfered with the lovely fantasy of a unicorn deciding your isolated farm is the perfect place to hang out. Word gets out, people of all ilks show up to see the unicorn, but of course they never do so they all gradually lose interest. Except the bad guys, the "monsters", who will do anything to get what they want - the unicorns. There is a showdown and magical things happen, both good and bad, dep ...more
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
I am a long-time, unabashed fan of Peter S. Beagle. I first read The Last Unicorn in the summer of 1968. My original copy of the book is older than my husband. I've lost track of how many time's I've read it. I read it for comfort, for hearts-ease, and to revisit old friends.

I've enjoyed most of Beagle's other books too.

Here's another unicorn book of his. But it's mostly about finding love and wonder and a bit of redemption at any age.

I agree with another reviewer that Bianchi seems older than
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #37 In Calabria by Peter S. Beagle 1 3 Mar 18, 2017 04:07PM  

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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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