Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn (1968 novel -- not movie)

Extollager

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I'm rereading The Last Unicorn -- my last reading was in March 1975 -- and, when I checked here, it looked like there hasn't been a discussion thread here on the book.

Your thoughts? Has anyone read it or reread it lately? I'll bet there are many of us who have read it, but lately?

I'm finding that it takes a certain amount of effort to stick with it (I do have a couple of extraneous purposes for doing so). The use of deliberate anachronisms (e.g. the sentinels whose shoddy armor includes bottlecaps) isn't striking me as really funny, for example. I keep feeling more conscious of the author as making this all up than I usually am in reading fiction, and that seems a dated kind of cleverness. Is this an early example of postmodernism? That wouldn't actually recommend it to me, if it were, but I think Beagle's probably too humane for that -- ?
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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I can't say I've read this lately, but I'll add whatever comments I can.

It does indeed seem to start off as postmodernism, or at least as a self-aware parody of fantasy fiction. I mean, it's hard to take seriously a novel with a character named Schmendrick. (As far as the anachronisms go, should we consider those in T. H. White's The Once and Future King as an influence?)

And yet the book grows more serious as it goes on. Whether this is deliberate or not is an interesting question.
 

Teresa Edgerton

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I've read this several times, though probably not in the last ten years or so. I must admit that most of the humor did not strike me as particularly funny, but the parts that were meant to inspire other emotions—wonder, terror, sorrow, etc.—moved me greatly. And some of the descriptions are splendid.
 

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