I needed a break from reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
for the second time, so I started reading The Last Unicorn
by Peter S. Beagle today. I never imagined that it would be so lyrical, but I met Mr. Beagle in person at Comic-Con and he is very much as precise in his speech as he is in writing. We had a lengthy conversation on the Red Bull which is my favorite character from the movie and he told me that it was inspired by a painting by a friend which led to The Last Unicorn
. His father was a painter and he was surrounded by artists during his childhood, but his talent lay in writing. He's a sweet man and a great storyteller. If you have the chance to meet him, you should.
His descriptions are unorthodox which really help you see the characters and the action; in example, "For an instant the icy wings hung silent in the air, like clouds, and the harpy’s old yellow eyes sank into the unicorn’s heart and drew her close[...]And out of the wreckage the harpy bloomed, terrible and free, screaming, her hair swinging like a sword. The moon withered and fled."
I love the threats that characters throw at each other while fighting like this: "Barbed wire," he
[Schmendrick] gasped. "You pile of stones, you waste, you desolation, I’ll stuff you with misery till it comes out of your eyes. I’ll change your heart into green grass, and all you love into a sheep. I’ll turn you into a bad poet with dreams. I’ll set your toenails growing inward. You mess with me."
I really don’t find anything conventional so far in his writing style. It really is a stand out work of fantasy fiction, still holding its own after forty years, and needs far more attention than it gets these days. My friend
is taking a game character design course where she is doing a series on The Last Unicorn
, reinterpreted and inspired by traditional Japanese art and folklore. Worth checking out.