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A Fine and Private Place by Peter S. Beagle
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A Fine and Private Place (original 1960; edition 1975)

by Peter S. Beagle

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,2644211,627 (3.99)74
Conversing in a mausoleum with the dead, an eccentric recluse is tugged back into the world by a pair of ghostly lovers bearing an extraordinary gift-the final chance for his own happiness. When challenged by a faithless wife and aided by a talking raven, the lives of the living and the dead may be renewed by courage and passion, but only if not belatedly. Told with an elegiac wisdom, this & delightful tale of magic and otherworldly love & is a timeless work of fantasy imbued with hope and wonder. After multiple printings since 1960, this newest edition will contain the author's recent revisions and will stand as the definitive version of an ageless classic.… (more)
Member:McLinda
Title:A Fine and Private Place
Authors:Peter S. Beagle
Info:Ballantine Special Book Club Edition (1975), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
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A Fine and Private Place by Peter S. Beagle (1960)

  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 74 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
Peter Beagle is one of those writers who I respect on reputation, and I enjoyed "The Last Unicorn" back in the day, but, for the most part, his work doesn't fall into categories that I tend to read. That said, when my book group decided to relaunch after the long COVID layoff, we picked this work since Mr. Beagle is going to be a guest of honor at our local science fiction convention. My main concern is that this was going to be a period piece that really didn't hold up, and is esteemed because of the halo effect of Beagle's long career. One thing is for sure, the man was a good prose-crafter right out of the box, and my interest was engaged from the start. However, the ghost story is still really not my thing, though the twist that detonates the climax was a surprise, and allows for a satisfying wrap-up. ( )
  Shrike58 | Aug 1, 2021 |
It's been a while, but I loved this book when I read it. ( )
  cedarwaxwing | Mar 19, 2021 |
Not Beagle's best, but a very impressive first novel considering the author was only 19 when he wrote it! ( )
  CatherineMachineGun | Jul 31, 2020 |
Beagle's first published book, at age 19, concerns a man living in a graveyard. See Goodreads reviews.
  librisissimo | Sep 9, 2019 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 42 (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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Epigraph
"The grave's a fine and private place, but none, I think, do there embrace."
Dedication
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.
Quotations
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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Conversing in a mausoleum with the dead, an eccentric recluse is tugged back into the world by a pair of ghostly lovers bearing an extraordinary gift-the final chance for his own happiness. When challenged by a faithless wife and aided by a talking raven, the lives of the living and the dead may be renewed by courage and passion, but only if not belatedly. Told with an elegiac wisdom, this & delightful tale of magic and otherworldly love & is a timeless work of fantasy imbued with hope and wonder. After multiple printings since 1960, this newest edition will contain the author's recent revisions and will stand as the definitive version of an ageless classic.

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