Review: The Overneath by Peter S. Beagle

The OverneathThe Overneath by Peter S. Beagle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

[Disclaimer: I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley for review purposes.]

Peter Beagle has been a favorite of mine since childhood. Admittedly, I didn't know much about him outside of The Last Unicorn until I was in my late teens. Which is a very sad sad thing. I know I had several of his books hanging around my house, but can't remember if I read them or when. (Remind me to go find them and read them, just to be safe!)

The Overneath is a collection of short stories, some of which were published elsewhere, and some of which are new. I believe both Schmendrick (!!!) stories are new, and they both made my heart skip a few beats. Reading about his life before he met the unicorn was magical! It was like a completely new depth brought to a character I've loved for years. (Peter, please write more Schmendrick! And Molly Grue! And Lir, oh bring Lir back...Yes I know he's gone...but I always want more. The Last Unicorn is one of my absolute favorite books.)

The other stories were very different from the others of his that I've read (although I can't say I've read his other short stories, I am really just talking about his books). I enjoyed the title story very much, and the very last one based on the dedication to The Last Unicorn. Both were intriguing. I still want to know what happened to the narrator's friend in The Overneath, and more more more.

Peter Beagle has always had a way of making me just want more. Can you tell?

I highly recommend this collection. His short stories are just as magical as his novels and novellas. There is so much atmosphere, such great character development in such short spaces. The stories are interesting (except that troll one - that one kind of left a bad taste in my mouth). And the unicorns! Okay, I think there was only one unicorn. But that's all right. The fantasy was there, the mood, the magic and the wonder of it all. Read this if you are a fan. Even if you're not a fan, give it a shot. You never know what you might find...

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Now as an aside - I did notice at least one review on Goodreads where the reviewer had received an e-mail from Tachyon Publications claiming that Connor Cochran, Beagle's manager, actually co-wrote many of Beagle's books and short stories, and requesting that he be credited in all reviews going forward (and previous reviews be edited as well).  Included on that list was In Calabria, which I have read.  I don't remember most of the titles from The Overneath, but there may have been one or two in there that Cochran claims he helped to write.  I have also read just about everything I could find on the internet about the dueling lawsuits between Cochran and Beagle, and frankly, what I've read has broken my heart.  Until a decision is made by an actual judge on whether Cochran is committing elder abuse, or Beagle is not the sole "author" of these works, I will not edit any reviews, nor will I acknowledge Cochran's contribution.

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