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The Last Unicorn: The Lost Version Hardcover – January 10, 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.

From Booklist

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

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 92 pages
  • Publisher: Subterranean Press; 1St Edition edition (January 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596060832
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596060838
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,100,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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I've loved The Last Unicorn for years, and love so much of Peter S. Beagle's writing. So it was really facinating to read the first version of his novel.

A few pieces are very much the same as the book I've come to know and love, but the vast majority of this first draft is entirely different. Schmendric and Mommy Fortuna's circus are gone, as is any mention of Haggard and the Red Bull. In their place are different characters, and it's obvious that Beagle was taking the story in an entirely different direction....

If you haven't read the Last Unicorn, you should. Go read that instead of this version. But if you've already read that, and want to see where it started, I highly reccomend this book.
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Have read The Last Unicorn at least 8 times, each time loving it more. Mr. Beagle is in my Top FIVE of favorite authors, so this first rendering of The Last Unicorn is fascinating to see and compare to the finished work. I am treating this book as a precious collectible of a supreme story-teller and incredible mind. Thank you, Mr. Beagle. And thanks to your wife for wanting to know how the story ended!!! We are in her debt!
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By Kelly on November 11, 2008
Interesting read if you're a fan of Peter Beagle and know the OTHER version of this story. It's pretty interesting to see how it progressed from this to what he orignally published.
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