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We Never Talk about My Brother

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  719 Ratings  ·  110 Reviews
Modern parables of love, death, and transformation are peppered with melancholy in this extraordinary collection of contemporary fantasy. Each short story cultivates a whimsical sense of imagination and reveals a mature, darker voice than previously experienced from this legendary author.

In one tale the Angel of Death enjoys newfound celebrity while moonlighting as an anc
Paperback, 219 pages
Published March 15th 2009 by Tachyon Publications
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Community Reviews

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Ben Babcock
Mar 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
May 15, 2009 rated it liked it
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
May 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
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.
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
Jul 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
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.
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.

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 well
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, short-story
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"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.
Dec 18, 2011 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah - Six Blue Marbles
May 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Before this time the only book I had read by Peter S. Beagle was The Last Unicorn, a childhood favourite of mine and many. I was pushed to read more of Beagle's work when I found out he would be coming to my city for a screening tour of The Last Unicorn (which I'm very excited to say I will be volunteering at!) and thought it would be good to read more of his work before I met him.
Unfortunately, my library only has three of his many works: The Last Unicorn (which I have), We Never Talk About My
Apr 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
"We Never Talk About My Brother" is an interesting but uneven short story collection. It contains some excellent stories but is held back by some occasionally detached writing and a general lack of flow and thematic link between the stories, making it an exhaustive read. I definitely had a few favorites:

The third story "The Tale of Junko and Sayuri" is basically an extended folk tale. It goes far beyond the ordinary conclusion of the more simplistic Eastern folk stories, eventually incorporating
Nov 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a fantasy collection of nine stories, written by this wondrous author who never ceases to amaze me.

All the stories are good (like The Stickball Witch), and some I liked more than others. But, for me, there were two that stood out in this book: The Unicorn Tapestries, and By Moonlight.

The Unicorn Tapestries is a poem cycle based on, you probably guessed, the Unicorn Tapestries, seven hangings made around the end of the 15th century, that tell the tale of, as Beagle himself puts it, “a br
May 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really liked some of these stories, but not five-stars'-worth. I loved "The Tale of Junko and Sayuri" (which kind of reminded me of The Mysterious Beasts of Eld) and "Chandail." And there were parts of the other stories which I loved, too....but there were also large parts which annoyed/bored me.

Like "Spook," which Beagle's little intro said he was really proud of. I didn't particularly like it. Especially because block quotes always strike me as self-indulgent and kind of annoying so I don't
Justyn Rampa
Aug 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is my second Peter S. Beagle short story collection and I found it to be a bit more uneven than "Sleight of Hand". I also discovered that I like my short fiction to have some kind of thread throughout the stories linking them together. "Nine Stories", "Adverbs", and "Slight of Hand" all follow this maxim. I couldn't quite tell what the intention of PSB was in putting these particular stories together. In some respect, several stories deal with something unspoken: an all consuming angel, a b ...more
Vladimir Ivanov
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Раньше имел о Бигле довольно невысокое мнение, но после прочтения этого сборника оно изменилось в лучшую сторону. Бигл, как оказалось, вполне неплохой автор городской фентези, чем-то напоминает де Линта. "Дядя Хаим, тетушка Ривка и ангел" - мастрид, всем рекомендую. Остальные рассказы заметно слабее, уровень варьируется от "нейтрально" до "боже зачем это написано вообще", но в целом мой респект к нему сильно возрос, он достаточно талантливый и разнообразный, хоть и пишет в отчетливо "женской" ма ...more
Jul 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I admit, I knew before I read it that I was going to love this book - I've adored everything Peter Beagle has ever written. That said, even trying to keep my mind as open as I could (no author is perfect, and even my favorites have written some things I just couldn't enjoy), I couldn't help but fall in love with each and every story.

Some authors have a unique and engrossing voice. Some create plots that just catch your heart. Some are wordsmiths that just make you want to wrap their prose around
Jan 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
SLJ review:

Hugo and Nebula award-winning Beagle, best known for his beloved fantasy The Last Unicorn, offers this collection of new and previously released stories with an introduction by Charles de Lint. Although different fantastical elements are explored-angels, dybbuks, ghosts, fairies-the stories remain rooted in rich, thoughtful prose set in real-world thinking. Characters are drawn with an economy of words into believable, multilayered, and compelling people. While each tale is a beautifu
Jan 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
The first book I've read by Peter S. Beagle. I've been meaning to read something of his for a while, but all I knew was The Last Unicorn, and honestly I don't like unicorns very much. I was never that into horse books either.

I didn't enjoy the first two stories in this collection particularly. They were good, but the first one seemed to ramble a bit, and first-person narrative is not the way to win my heart, even though I admit it has its place in the world of writing, in short fiction especiall
Feb 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2014
Just wasn't in the mood this time. Even back when I read The Last Unicorn and A Fine and Private Place, I had to get myself past Beagle's jokey class clown style narrator to appreciate his stuff, but then, of course, I was captivated. But that was a long time ago now. Maybe you can't go home again.

Still, I'll always have a place in my heart for American Fantastic. Steven Millhauser, Shirley Jackson, William Kotzwinkle, John Crowley, Charles Finney, Mark Helprin, Colson Whitehead, James Thurber (
Jan 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
An excellent collection of stories by Peter S Beagle. I would consider this an excellent primer for anyone who has not read stories by this author before.

The first three tales are the strongest - "Uncle Chaim and Aunt Rifke and the Angel," "We Never Talk About My Brother," and "The Tale of Junko and Sayuri." The others in the collection are good, too, but those are my favorites of this collection, followed quickly after by "The Stickball Witch." The final two - "The Unicorn Tapestries" and "Chan
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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
More about Peter S. Beagle...
“Envy nobody. It is the true secret of happiness, or at least the only one I know. (By Moonlight)” 20 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)”
More quotes…