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The Last Unicorn: The Lost Version Hardcover – January 10, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
This fragment is Beagle's first, unsuccessful attempt at writing what became his classic fantasy, The Last Unicorn (1968), though even his failures are marvels of wry humor and brilliant prose styling. Beagle's introduction illuminates his thought processes behind the composition of The Last Unicorn, while his afterword explains "the occasional haunting connection" between this version and the finished one. As in the completed text, an immortal unicorn leaves her lilac wood in search of other unicorns. She engages in witty repartee with a whiny dragon and meets up with a two-headed demon, Azazel and Webster, who are carrying a coal stolen from hell. The unicorn and the demons have some intriguing, whimsical conversations, but the action ends abruptly before resolving any of the characters' fates. Collectors and those interested in the gestation of Beagle's masterpiece will best appreciate this imperfect gem. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Beagle's modern fantasy classic, The Last Unicorn (1968), didn't come easily. He stalled on the first draft, returning to the concept only after a cross-country motor-scooter trip and his book about it, I See by My Outfit (1965). While the first draft opens the same as the novel, the principal characters other than the unicorn are different. There's a weary, tattered dragon, who apprises the unicorn of how the world beyond her forest has changed since the heyday of mythic beasts like themselves. Better, there's Azazel and Webster, a two-headed demon kicked out of hell because Webster loudly resisted such infernal improvements as turning off the flames and relegating Satan to figurehead status. The heads' bickering Beagle now sees as in character with his and his road buddy's banter in I See by My Outfit, and he says he gave up on the first version because he couldn't continue the satire of religion the demon introduced. Thank heavens, though, that he persevered and now publishes this funny, darkly winsome fragment. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
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In this story, a unicorn discovers she is the last in the world. And she sets out to discover what fate has befallen the other unicorns. Along the way you will meet magical creatures such as harpies and enchanted bulls. You will also meet a magician, a prince, and the comic relief. And you will probably be singing the America song to yourself while you follow the last Unicorn on her adventure. And when it's over, the song will still be in your head, your heart will be a little bit heavier for having read this charming story and you may even find yourself wishing that you could somehow begin this book all over not knowing what is to come.
The graphic novel experience is magnificently summed up best in one word; stunning. The adaptation and gorgeous illustrations hold true to the original experience providing a delicious serving of fantasy at its best that I greedily consumed.
Looking at the story, this has been adapted well. Almost flawlessly if I may. We are presented with the same familiar, eccentric, endearing and occasionally terrifying characters. Our enchanting and somewhat arrogant unicorn is accompanied by Schmendrick the Magician and Molly Grue on a treacherous journey to face King Haggard and the Red Bull after discovering that she may very well be the last Unicorn. She seeks to find her own.
“I would know if all the other were gone.I’d be gone too. Nothing can happen to them that does not happen to me… But suppose they are hiding somewhere far away? What if they are hiding and waiting for me?”
This is a timeless tale of love and loss, of courage and growth. Full of hope and promise, it is perfectly presented with gorgeous illustrations that contribute tremendously to the elements of fantasy and magic. I leave the remainder of this beloved tale for you to explore on your own if you have not done so.
“-And then the brightness answered her with a bellow like the sound of ice breaking up in the spring!”
This is currently one of my absolute favorite experiences with a graphic novel. Each page was crafted with such care and a true feeling of love being poured into the pages. Combined with a heartfelt introduction by the author that explores just how this story possibly came to be and his own experience with comic books, this is will find a cherished spot among fans of the story and graphic novels alike.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
A few days ago – when I’d read up to page 100 of another book (one set during the Holocaust) – I realized I was too fragile at the moment to go on, and set it aside. The thought entered my noggin (and where this thought came from, I still do not know – I hadn’t thought about this book for a long time) that I needed to read *The Last Unicorn* again. And so I did.
And oh, it was perfect – the exactly right book for me right now! If you’ve never read *The Last Unicorn*, I highly recommend it. If you’ve already read it, I recommend you read it again. It is as timely now as it was when I first read it 40 years ago. I don’t know how anyone could read this little book and not come away from it feeling braver and nobler and more hopeful about the world.