This is the unabridged audiobook of Peter S. Beagle's classic fantasy novel, read by the author. It was recorded at MondoMedia Studios in San Francisco by Jim Lively, and co-produced by Connor Cochran and Jim Lively.
For 19 years, Jonathan Rebeck has hidden from the world within the confines of the Bronx’s enormous Yorkchester Cemetery, making an abandoned mausoleum his secret home. His life is not an empty one. He can speak with the newly dead - as they pass from life to wherever spirits truly go - providing comfort, an ear, understanding, and even the occasional game of chess. But now Mr. Rebeck’s reclusive existence is changing, disrupted by events and emotions beyond his control. An impossible love has blossomed between two ghosts, and his own secrets have been pierced by a living woman whose heart cries out for resurrection. Helped along by a cynical talking raven and a mysterious Cuban guard, Campos, these four souls must learn the true difference between life and death, and make choices that really are forever.
Told with an elegiac wisdom, Peter S. Beagle’s first novel is a timeless work of fantasy, imbued with hope and wonder, sorrow and joy, and a surprising sense of humor. This updated edition contains the author’s final revisions, and stands as the definitive version of an enduring modern classic.
"Just as wonderful as I remembered it to be: beautifully written, the characters warmly drawn." (Charles De Lint, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction)
"One of the great fantasy novels of all time." (ICCFA Magazine, International Cemetery, Cremation, and Funeral Association)
"Such compassion and grace that [the book] ends up far more absorbing and moving than most novels." (SF Reviews.net)
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A Witty & Romantic Psychological Urban Ghost Story
Wow! Read by the author!!
No.I Love them both equally. I finnished listening and rushed straight off to reread the book.
Apart from being a classic luminous fantasy and a joy to read for that alone, the book has as many layers as an onion. It is a book about need. About the need to give and the need to receive. About the need to give love and to receive love - and the need to be able to do both these things.
The raven is the easiest example, he needs a human to look after and while Rebeck is happy to be on the receiving end the relationship works well.Rebeck has retreated to a cemetary 20 years ago, because all his relationships have failed. His love life withered on the stem and his need to give a little extra in his chemist shop ended in rejection & bankruptcy. He feels useless and alone.When the story opens his need to give is satisfied by his fleeting relationships with the recent dead whom he helps adjust to the after life.
Mrs Klapper needs to give big time. She needs to give sustinance, in the manner of the raven and she also needs to give love. She has been so long without either love or sustenance, she has forgotten that she also needs to receive both these things. Rebeck who has his ghosts and the raven, is in a better place than she is for love and companionship.Mrs Klapper has had a childless marriage to a man who revealed more of himself to his workmates than his own wife. The basic structure of the marriage failed so badly, that in the end all she could do was look after her husband's physical comfort. Don't get me wrong, it was a comfortable marriage, but there was no communication. If Mrs Klapper had died first, Mr Klapper would have hired a housedkeeper and contentedly enjoyed his evenings without the buzz of a wife in the background.Klapper was a sinple man. He wanted a simple funeral and a small headstone. His wife built him a mausoleum so she could keep him as comfortable in death as she did in life.
Mrs Klapper discovers in Rebeck a man who needs her company, her sustenance and her love. In the few weeks of their meetings in the cemetary she learns to know him better than she ever did her husband, in all the years of their marriage.Rebeck has to learn to receive what Klapper has to give, to be able in the end to leave the cemetary and take up the threads of a normal life again. There is hope in this reader's heart that they can have a fulfilled relationship both giving and receiveing love and companionship.
There is also the tender love story of the ghosts, each with their need for love and mutual acceptance.
This is a book for all ages. When I was young I loved the ghosts' story best. Now I'm older I best enjoy Rebeck & Klapper's romance.
I imagined I was back in Victorian days, in a theatre in Boston, listening to Dickens reading aloud from his own stories.Seriously, Peter reads like my parents and grandfather read to me. He gets into the character of the players without putting on silly voices. I want to imagine the voices in my own head. When men squeak and squeal pretending to be women and when women grunt and growl pretending to be men, it cuts across my concentration and takes me out of the experience, dumping me back into the real world with a nasty taste in my mouth.Peter didn't do this. Also because it is his own work he read it with great understanding.
I cried for the ghosts, having to leave behind love almost beforethey had found it. I laughed with Klapper and Rebeck as they fumbled their way to a new relationship. I also laughed at the antics of the Raven as he hitched a ride and chatted with a squirrel. I wanted to know what happened to the Raven, but he flew out of the story and perhaps he didn't give a toss anyway.
I first read this book in the late 1970's, when my husband was given a copy of The Fantasy Worlds of Peter Beagle as a Christmas present. I have reread this and the other stories therein on a bi-anual basis ever since. Usually I don't really think about the meanings. I just enjoy; letting the fantasy and the glorious prose flow over me and I wallow, happy as a pig in mud.
- kiwi bookaholic