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A Fine and Private Place by Peter S. Beagle

A Fine and Private Place (1960)

by Peter S. Beagle

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,1973910,277 (3.99)70
  1. 20
    Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger (Ciruelo)
    Ciruelo: Both feature a single man with a devoted attachment to a graveyard and its restless ghost.
  2. 00
    Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce (Ciruelo)

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» See also 70 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
Beagle wrote this when he was 19, and for that age this is an excellent book. Certainly Beagle went on to write great fiction. But this book doesn't really do it for me. It's a very slow book and very character-driven, but the characters aren't all that interesting. There's Michael and Laura, two ghosts who cannot leave their cemetery and are slowly losing all their memories, Mr. Rebeck, who's alive but has lived in a mausoleum inside the cemetery for almost twenty years and can see ghosts, and Mrs. Klapper, who initially comes to the cemetery to visit her husband's grave but befriends Mr. Rebeck. Together, they sit around and talk about nothing much for a couple of hundred pages.

Oh, it's well-written nothing, but nothing nonetheless. I think Beagle was reaching for philosophy but fell short and landed with circular arguments. I don't much care for any of the characters, and I'm hard-pressed to describe the two ghosts, whose personalities are as transparent as their corporeal forms. Actual events happen at the end of the book, but since I never cared much about the characters, it doesn't resonate or feel worthy of emotion.
( )
  miri12 | May 31, 2019 |
While Beagle's dialogue and prose are both excellent, and the plot fairly interesting, the subject matter is just not my thing at all, being much too depressing and morbid to be an enjoyable read for me. So my rating is at about the halfway point between how good I suspect this book would be to someone whose tastes are more open to it, and how much I personally got out of it. ( )
  LokiAesir | Feb 21, 2019 |
What a lovely read! Beagle is most known for his fantasy classic [b:The Last Unicorn|29127|The Last Unicorn (The Last Unicorn, #1)|Peter S. Beagle|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1524764327s/29127.jpg|902304], but this book deserves equal renown in itself.

I am convinced that this novel is the inspiration for Gaiman's [b:The Graveyard Book|2213661|The Graveyard Book|Neil Gaiman|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1531295292s/2213661.jpg|2219449]... the similarities are too numerous to ignore. ( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
I don't even know where to begin. I liked it. The writing was phenomenal, the characters rich and interesting. There was so much packed into this book from philosophy, musing about life after death, and a fascinating study of humans. Peter S. Beagle scrapes at the bottom of the very soul of his characters and I felt as if I was peering into this man's own thoughts through his writing. This felt like a very personal glimpse into his musings but seamlessly put into novel form, exploring such beautiful and dastardly human characters. The ghosts in this book were just as corporeal as those that were alive. It took me a little while to get into it but the plot quickly picks up 100 pages in or so as you settle into this elegant and raw study of life and death that Beagle has wrought. I mayn't have fully grasped everything contained within this book, but maybe you aren't supposed to. You are just supposed to let it wash over you and absorb what you can. Bravo, Mr. Beagle. ( )
  Pashii | Aug 28, 2017 |
An interesting premise but not carried out well. Needed more plot, less philosophizing. ( )
  dorie.craig | Jun 22, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
A first novel that is both sepulchral and oddly appealing... a wry dialogue with death that may contain no large lump of wisdom but offers a fair selection of small ones.
added by jjlong | editTime (May 23, 1960)

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Peter S. Beagleprimary authorall editionscalculated
Collingwood, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gallardo, GervasioCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sweet, DarrellCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"The grave's a fine and private place, but none, I think, do there embrace."
Dies Erste widme ich meinen Eltern, Simon und Rebecca, und meinem Bruder Daniel und selbstverständlich auch Edwin Peterson
This first one for my parents, Simon and Rebecca, and for my brother Daniel, and, as it must be, for Edwin Peterson
First words
The baloney weighed the raven down, and the shopkeeper almost caught him as he whisked out the delicatessen door.
Man searches constantly for identity, he thought as trotted along the gravel path. He has no real proof of his existence except for the reaction of other people to that fact. So he listens very closely to what people say to one another about him, whether it's good or bad, because it indicates that he lives in the same world they do, and that all his fears about being invisible, impotent, lacking some mysterious dimension that other people have, are groundless. That's why people like to have nicknames. [p. 140]
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451450965, Mass Market Paperback)

This classic, mesmerizing tale from the author of The Last Unicorn is a journey between the realms of the living and the dead, and the eternal power of love.

Michael Morgan was not ready to die, but his funeral was carried out just the same. Trapped in the dark limbo between life and death as a ghost, he searches for an escape. Instead, he discovers the beautiful Laura...and a love stronger than the boundaries of the grave and the spirit world.

Praise for Peter S. Beagle:

"Wit, charm, and a sense of individuality." --New York Times Book Review

"It's a fully rounded region, this other world of Peter Beagle's imagination...an originality...that is wholly his own." --Kirkus Reviews

"Both sepulchral and oddly appealing...[Beagle's] ectoplasmic fable has a distinct, mossy charm." --Time

"Delightful." --San Francisco Chronicle

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:47 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A kindly raven brings food to and is the companion of a man who has taken refuge in an abandoned mausoleum in a New York City cemetery for nineteen years

» see all 3 descriptions

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