(Unofficially) Peter S. Beagle

Starmont Readers' Guide

Starmont Reader's Guide #44 - Peter Beagle
by Kenneth J. Zahorski
Series Editor Roger C. Schlobin
The Starmont House, 1988

In 1988, The Starmont House put out what I can only assume was a series of author profiles called The Starmont Reader's Guides, edited by Roger C. Schlobin. Issue #44 was written by Kenneth J. Zahorski, an accomplished fantasy writer, and profiled some guy with a beard by the name of Peter Beagle.

Zahorski did a great job of not only compiling information (including timeline and bibliographies), but also of interviewing primary sources, and reviewing many of Beagle's works. This short (124 page trade paperback) Bible of Beagle has been and continues to be immensely helpful to me in the construction of this site; I have referenced him many times in these pages.

Zahorski does a bang-up first chapter, focusing on Beagle's life and touching upon his many accomplishments, spicing up the biographical content with Beagle family interviews. But it is in the literary review sections that he really seems to enjoy himself.

"A Fine and Private Place", "The Last Unicorn", and "The Folk of the Air" each get their own chapter, but most of those chapters are spent first revealing the entire plot in a short but detailed summary, then discussing critical review of the work, and finally comparing them to other Beagle works.

There are also chapters devoted to Beagle's screenplays (including information on many never produced), his short fiction, and his nonfiction. Zahorski touches upon many of Beagle's works, usually with an eye to the aforementioned literary review style. But that's just fine.

I highly recommend that anyone interested in Beagle's work pick up a copy of this (out of print) guide. (I found my edition through AbeBooks for about $10 plus shipping.) It's a pretty good read, by someone who knows what he's writing about.


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