THE UNICORN SONATA. by Peter S. Beagle

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Synopsis

On a hot summer day in Los Angeles, thirteen-year-old Josephine "Joey" Rivera - a misfit in junior high school but a born musician - meets a disquieting young man named Indigo who plays ghostly, haunting music on a horn the hue of a conch shell. The sound of his music stays with her, distant and beguiling, until she follows it down an ordinary street and across an unseen border into a magical world called Shei'rah. There, satyrs, water nymphs, and six-inch-long dragons live side by side with phoenixes and two-headed serpents and the Eldest - the unicorns whose music is the soul of Shei'rah. There are dangers, too - from swarms of tiny, terrible flying creatures called perytons, and from a strange disease that is blinding the Eldest. To Joey, Shei'rah feels like home - but she already has a home across the Border, in our world. She has school and a family and a feisty, beloved grandmother, Abuelita, whom she visits every Sunday in a nursing home. There's also gruff old John Papas, whose dusty instrument-repair shop Joey cleans in exchange for music lessons, and who may know something about the Eldest himself. Within these two worlds whose borders merge mysteriously, Peter S. Beagle spins a tale of one girl who can make a difference. The Unicorn Sonata also tells us that our true home is often right around the corner, if we'd only open our eyes - and our ears - to find it.
 

About Peter S. Beagle

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Peter S. Beagle was born in Manhattan in April of 1939. During his senior year of high school, Beagle entered a poem and a short story in the 1955 Scholastic Writing Awards Contest, not knowing that the Grand Prize was a college education. He won that prize and went on to spend four years at the University of Pittsburgh after graduating from high school in 1955. In his sophomore year at the University of Pittsburgh, Beagle entered another contest, winning first place again in Seventeen Magazine's Short Story Contest. At the age of 19, he published "A Fine and Private Place." Beagle graduated college with a degree in Creative Writing and a Spanish minor and then spent a year overseas. When he returned, his new-found agent had enrolled him in a writing workshop at Stanford. After his first few published stories, Beagle supported himself and his family as a freelancer for many years. In the 70's he began to write screenplays, as well as take up the hobby of singing folk songs at a local club. Beagle has published music as well as books, both his passions, and both lucrative. Beagle gives lectures and readings at universities, and also hosts writing workshops at schools such as the University of Washington and Clarion West. His works have been translated into 15 languages. Beagle has also written a script for Star Trek: The Next Generation and the screenplay for the animated feature version of The Lord of the Rings. In 1987, Beagle's "The Last Unicorn" was proclaimed the Number 5 All Time Fantasy Novel. That same year, "The Innkeeper's Song" won the Mythopoetic Fantasy Award. In 1997, "The Unicorn Sonata" won the Locus Poll Award for Best Novella, and in 1998, "Giant Bones" won the same award as well as being nominated for the 1998 World Fantasy Award.
 
Published January 1, 1996 by Turner. 154 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for THE UNICORN SONATA.

Kirkus Reviews

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Returning home, Joey finds that Indigo (another Eldest) prefers to live on Earth in human form;

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Publishers Weekly

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This fragment is Beagle's first, unsuccessful attempt at writing what became his classic fantasy, The Last Unicorn (1968), though even his failures are marvels of wry humor and brilliant prose styling.

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Publishers Weekly

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Yet all are also mythic in the best sense, including Beagle's bravura performance in his own new story, ``Professor Gottesman and the Indian Rhinoceros.'' (Oct.)

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Seized by the Tale

The Unicorn Sonata is a pleasant, though not exceptional, story about a girl named Joey who stumbles from modern Los Angeles into a far wilder world: the land of Shei'rah.

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