In Calabria by Peter S. Beagle. ★★★
As a new unicorn story by the acclaimed Peter S. Beagle, I had high expectations for In Calabria. Unfortunately, this novella didn’t do much for me.
For many years, Claudio Bianchi has lived alone on his farm in Southern Italy, writing poetry and tending to his three cows and other animals. Then one morning, he discovers a unicorn has arrived at his farm. The arrival of the unicorn will change Claudio’s life forever.
The focus of In Calabria is Claudio Bianchi. He’s cut himself off from other people and been living in isolation. But when the unicorn chooses him and his farm it makes him reconnect with others and reevaluate his own worthiness. More than anything else, the unicorn functions as a catalyst for Claudio’s personal growth.
After Claudio and the unicorn, the most prominent character is Giovanna, the younger sister of Claudio’s friend the postman. Giovanna did not impress me. She felt like the typical one dimensional sexy love interest who has an inexplicable interest in the much older male protagonist. I also found it annoying how frequently the narrative mentioned that her eyes were green. I get it, she has striking green eyes! Move on!
In Calabria is fairly short – under two hundred pages – but it took me a while to read. I kept putting it down and having to come back to it. I just feel so apathetic about it. The writing is lovely (this is Peter S. Beagle after all), but there’s not much more I can say about In Calabria. It is possible people of a more literary bent might enjoy this one more than me, but I won’t be recommending it in the future.
I received a copy of In Calabria from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.