The Last Unicorn

Book review: The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

The Last UnicornSometimes we’re simply meant to hear certain songs, see certain signs or, in this case, read certain books! I had been getting constant nudges from the universe to read The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle, and I finally decided that it was time to grab a copy and give it a read.

I had heard that it was the most popular fantasy book of all time, and that rave review mixed with the fact that the word unicorn was in the title seemed like enough reason to read it. And then, when the first page opened in the Lilac Wood, I knew I had made the right choice!

The story itself ended up being a little different than I had expected. I had anticipated something a little more cut-and-dry and less abstract, but I found that the novel was full of double meanings, ambiguities and secret symbols — which I actually love in a story.

Everything in the novel had such a deep meaning and really said something about life and death and what it means to be human, without being overt about anything. As I interpreted it, there were metaphors for everything from fear, innocence, childhood and old age, all presented through magical creatures.

Maybe it was just the ambiguous nature of the narrative, but as I was reading, I began to draw parallels between the things I’ve been thinking and writing about lately and the story.  For example, I found that part of the novel’s message was that if you lose hope and become convinced that there’s no such thing as magic, it will be true for you. However, if you believe, anything is possible!

This could be way off, but this is part of what I interpreted from the text. I saw the ending as a happy one, but there’s definitely a completely different way of looking at it, which is something I find so fascinating about books — there are hundreds of different ways of thinking about it and it all depends on what’s going on in your own consciousness.

Finally, I do love a good fairy tale, so the theme of upside down fairy tales throughout the story was so fun for me. I love new takes on established themes and motifs, and The Last Unicorn has plenty (not that this is a new book — it was written in the 1960s, so I’m pretty late to the game on this one!).

Have you read The Last Unicorn? What did you think of the ending? Let me know in the comments below!

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