The Innkeeper's Song

Book Card  -  Volume 30  -  Book Review Number 2  -  Sun, Dec 12, 1993 1:55 PM

TITLE: The Innkeeper's Song
AUTHOR: Peter S. Beagle

Technically, I guess the following quote could be said to give away a major plot twist in Peter S. Beagle's latest novel. If this sort of thing bothers you, skip the quote and go on to the next paragraph. I include this just because it's a great Quotationist-style quote. You can guess which priest I'd worship with.

"...one of our priests says that love between men is a great sin - the other argues that nothing at all is sinful except weak ale, overdone meat, and building a fire in any way but his."

Inkeeper's Song is written entirely in the first person, with each new chapter representing a shift in perspective from one character to another. Chapters range in length from ten or twenty pages down to a line or two. This is the sort of thing that ordinarily would drive me crazy, but Peter S. Beagle pulls it off in style.

For those of you blanking on the name, Peter S. Beagle is best-known as the author of "The Last Unicorn", and the burning question throughout this book is, "Is the un-named magician of 'Innkeeper' Schmendrick of 'Unicorn'?" One hint mid-way says, "Yes!" but other hints, if present, passed me by undetected. On the balance, then, I have to reluctantly guess, "No".

Regardless, this is vintage Beagle, and that's plenty good for me.

The book jacket says, "Peter S. Beagle is the author of such highly acclaimed, bestselling works as The Last Unicorn, A Fine and Private Place, and The Folk of the Air. He currently resides in Davis, California."