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Sleight of Hand Paperback – March 1, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
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Wise, warm and deep.”
The New York Times
This bittersweet collection of 13 recent stories pays tribute to the complicated power of family ties. Sleight of Hand’ lauds the good magic of parental love, while What Tune the Enchantress Plays’ shows its dark side. Children of the Shark God’ addresses children’s influence on parents, and in La Lune T’Attend’ a grandfather protects his descendants from the family’s longtime enemy. Slighter but still entertaining are Up the Down Beanstalk,’ the nostalgia-heavy The Rabbi’s Hobby’ (Brighton Beach Memoirs with magic), and Oakland Dragon Blues,’ whose title character deserves better than his pat ending. The surprise hit of the collection is The Bridge Partner,’ psychological horror in the best Twilight Zone tradition. Fans of The Last Unicorn will also appreciate The Woman Who Married the Man in the Moon,’ a Schmendrick prequel in classic bittersweet Beagle style.”
Washington Post Book World
This 13-story anthology will entice even the most jaded reader to read long hours into the night.... Sleight of Hand will beguile and enchant.”
New York Journal of Books
Beagle still has the power to surprise...a new collection of stories by one of the all-time greats.”
Sleight of Hand is a strong collection by an author whose skill has only improved with time...a must-have.”
Few can match [Beagle] when it comes to a particular mix of the fantastic and the ordinary, with a tinge of nostalgia. As one character observes, the magic is in the telling, always.”
After reading Sleight of Hand, I know exactly why Beagle has this mythic reputation as one of the best of the best in fantasy and science-fiction literary circles. The man is amazing. Nearly every story in this collection was like a spell.”
Demonstrates yet again why [Beagle’s] perhaps the finest fantasy writer at short lengths working today.”
...not only one of our greatest fantasists, but one of our greatest writers, a magic realist worthy of consideration with such writers as Marquez, Allende, and even Borges.”
The American Culture
Engaging and wide-ranging selection of fantasies...the perfect book”
There’s quiet power here, and delicate craftsmanship, and most of all, a genuine emotional response that few short-story collections can generate.”
Green Man Review
"Peter S. Beagle is the magician we all apprenticed ourselves to."
—Lisa Goldstein, author, The Red Magician
Top Customer Reviews
The title tale, 'Sleight Of Hand', is a semi-autobiographical story that deals with wish fulfillment and a unique form of time travel. This is the type of story that has a way of sneaking up on you.
'The Children Of The Shark God' is a crackerjack story set in the Hawaiian isles before the coming of the white man. A brother and sister discover their father is the legendary Shark God and embark on a quest to find him and ask why he left their mother and them to fend for themselves.
'The Best Worst Monster' is a short and previously unpublished tale originally intended for a children's book. It relates the story of a mad scientist, a la Victor Frankenstein, who creates a monster to avenge the petty slights he's endured throughout the years. However, his monster has a bit more conscience in him than his creator intended.
'What Tune The Enchantress Plays' is a classic fairy tale, set in the world of 'The Innkeeper's Song' and deals with the conflict between a sorceress mother and her enchantress daughter. The differences between the two women's brands of magic are crucial.
'La Lune T'attend' is a werewolf tale set in bayou country.Read more ›
The magic in each story is different and some of it is more subtle than in other stories, but all of them have the feel of a master storyteller behind them. There is a foreword for each story with some background about how the story came to be written, and even the stories where Messir Beagle says he didn't feel was in his zone of comfort for writing were artfully spun.
If you're looking for a collection of short stories which will touch you emotionally as well as intellectually, you should definitely pick up Sleight of Hand.
Copy Courtesy of Tachyon Publications
Sleight of Hand offers thirteen stories that stretch to the far corners of the fantasy field, from cute children's tales to ghost and werewolf stories, from traditional, straightforward narratives to more challenging fiction, and from humor to the most painful emotions. With such variety, you're more or less guaranteed to find something you like here.
Peter S. Beagle has one of the most distinct and recognizable voices in fantasy fiction. His writing style sometimes reminds me of the lyrics of Paul Simon, because Beagle has the same ability to sound at the same time tentative and utterly exact in his choices. His writing is never overbearing, often gently humorous, always subtle and eloquent. In fact, it's so gentle and unassuming that it's easy to miss how delicately each sentence and paragraph have been constructed. It's all easily enjoyable and readable, but there aren't very many people out there who could put a story together with such precision.
Nevertheless, as with almost any collection, some stories in Sleight of Hand are stronger than others. While none of them are anything less than good, the book contains a few stories that feel considerably less substantial than the others, which is a shame in a collection that's already short at under 300 pages.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I had started reading this book as a library book but after reading the first two stories I knew that this was a book I should own. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Karen
I've only read the first four stories because I do not find them that interesting. I was hoping for more!Published 18 months ago by Manuel A Bello
I've been a fan of Peter Beagle's since I read The Last Unicorn, many years ago. This is a fresh collection of stories that will move and entertain you. Read morePublished on August 6, 2013 by Amazon Customer
I admire Beagle's writing. In particular, regarding this book, I find his story about the misplaced and annoyed dragon wonderful. Why? Read morePublished on February 17, 2013 by Susan Rushton
This collection of short stories was a real joy to read. Beagle manages to create interesting and believable characters and describe their world in a few pages and have them do... Read morePublished on October 17, 2012 by Michael J. Amos
I was predisposed to like this collection, because I love Beagle's writing and he is not exactly prolific! The care he takes to get everything just right really shows. Read morePublished on September 15, 2012 by Cissa
Okay, Mr. Beagle, I have to be one of your oldest and most faithful readers. I have combed the used bookstore shelves in search of your out-of-prints; I have seized upon any idiot... Read morePublished on February 10, 2012 by P. Chapin
Peter Beagle is a compelling writer whose imagery is so evocative you feel as though you are inside the story. Makes me want to go back and reread his earlier works.Published on August 22, 2011 by Gail